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Hardware

Welcome to the Goodwill Computer Museum (Video) 72

Posted by Roblimo
from the don't-be-scared-they're-just-old-computers-like-grandpa-used-to-use dept.
Goodwill Industries rehabs computers and sells computer parts, at least in Austin, Texas. The Goodwill Computer Museum is a natural outgrowth of that effort. In this video, museum curator Lisa Worley takes Slashdot's Timothy Lord on a tour of the museum. Remember that TRS-80 you threw away in 1982? Well, they saved several of them to stimulate your nostalgia-based pleasure nodules. Ditto many other devices both common and rare, including a pre-Dell computer made and signed by Texas computer celebrity Michael Dell. So sit back and enjoy the ride, as Timothy does the walking and Lisa does the talking, kind of like Night at the Museum -- but without CGI dinosaurs and other life forms getting between you and the classic computers.
Businesses

Dell Is Now a Private Company Again 151

Posted by timothy
from the back-to-the-dorms dept.
Gunfighter writes "StreetInsider.com reports that Dell, Inc. completed its go-private transaction by Michael Dell, Dell's Founder, Chairman and CEO, and Silver Lake Partners, a leading global technology investment firm. Stockholders will receive $13.75 in cash for each share of Dell common stock they hold, plus payment of a special cash dividend of $0.13 per share to stockholders of record as of the close of business on Oct. 28, 2013, for total consideration of $13.88 per share in cash. The total transaction is valued at approximately $24.9 billion."
Earth

A Year After Sandy, Do You Approach Disaster Differently? 230

Posted by timothy
from the beef-jerky-and-running-shoes dept.
A year ago today, Superstorm Sandy struck the northeastern U.S. The storm destroyed homes — in some cases entire neighborhoods — and brought unprecedented disruptions to the New York City area's infrastructure, interrupting transportation, communications, and power delivery. It even damaged a Space Shuttle. In the time since, the U.S. hasn't faced a storm with Sandy's combination of power and placement, but businesses have had some time to rethink how much trust they can put in even seemingly impregnable data centers and other bulwarks of modernity: a big enough storm can knock down nearly anything. Today, parts of western Europe are recovering from a major storm as well: more than a dozen people were killed as the predicted "storm of the century" hit London, Amsterdam, and other cities on Sunday and Monday. In Amsterdam, the city's transportation system took a major hit; some passengers had to shelter in place in stopped subway cars while the storm passed. Are you (or your employer) doing anything different in the post-Sandy era, when it comes to preparedness to keep people, data, and equipment safe?
Displays

210 Degrees of Heads-Up Display: Hands-On With the InfinitEye 80

Posted by timothy
from the better-than-a-sharp-poke-in-the-eye dept.
First time accepted submitter muterobert writes "InfinitEye is a prototype head mounted display that uses dual 1280×800 displays to create a massive 210 degree field of view. I traveled to Toulouse, France to be the first journalist in the world to go hands-on with the unit. These are my thoughts on the trip, the team, and the HMD itself. 'Natural and Panoramic Virtual Reality' is the best phrase I can come up with that summarises the InfinitEye's capabilities. If using the Oculus Rift is like opening the sunroof on a virtual world, the InfinitEye takes the roof clean off — at least if you base your opinion solely on horizontal FOV. But the new HMD also offers 1280×800 per eye in comparison the current Oculus Rift Dev Kit's 640×800 (and only slightly fewer pixels per eye than the Oculus Rift HD prototype)."
Cellphones

Leak: Almost a Third of Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatches Are Being Returned 365

Posted by timothy
from the this-smart-ring-communicates-with-your-smart-watch dept.
llebeel writes "Almost a third of Samsung's Galaxy Gear Smartwatches sold are being returned, a leaked document has revealed, which shows that over 30 percent are being returned after sale at Best Buy locations in the US. The higher than expected return rate could be due to that realisation, with customers impulse buying and then realising that the smartwatch isn't everything it's cracked up to be." I'd like to hear from more people with smart watches who are happy with them, to better understand the appeal.
Cellphones

Motorola's "Project Ara" Will Allow Users To Customize Their Smartphones 112

Posted by timothy
from the snap-and-go dept.
rtoz writes "Motorola has announced 'Project Ara,' afree and open hardware platform for smartphones. The purpose of Project Ara is to create a modular smartphone that would allow users to swap hardware components according their own wish. The design for Project Ara consists of an endoskeleton (endo) and modules. The endo is the structural frame that holds all the modules in place. A module can be anything, from a new application processor to a new display or keyboard, an extra battery, a pulse oximeter — or something not yet thought of." Motorola's not the first one to think of such a thing; this project is in cooperation with Phonebloks, which had already been pushing for reusable, reconfigurable phone components.
iMac

Apple 27-inch iMac With Intel's Haswell Inside Tested 241

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the shinier-newer dept.
MojoKid writes "Apple's late 2013 edition iMacs are largely unchanged in external form, though they're upgraded in function with a revamped foundation that now pairs Intel's Haswell 4th Generation Core processors with NVIDIA's GeForce 700 Series graphics. The Cupertino company also outfitted these latest models with faster flash storage options, including support for PCI-E based storage, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology, all wrapped in a 21.5-inch (1920x1080) or 27-inch IPS displays with a 2560x1440 resolution. As configured, the 27-inch iMac reviewed here bolted through benchmarks with relative ease and posted especially solid figures in gaming tests, including a 3DMark 11 score of 3,068 in Windows 7 (via Boot Camp). Running Cinebench 11.5 in Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks also helped showcase the CPU and GPU combination. Storage benchmarks weren't nearly as impressive though, for iMacs based on standard spinning media. For real IO throughput, it's advisable to go with Apple's Flash storage options."
Businesses

Hardware Is Now Open (sourced) For Business 42

Posted by samzenpus
from the free-and-open-model dept.
ptorrone writes "CNBC has an interesting article about the growing trend of hardware companies going open-source. 'The open-source hardware movement is migrating from the garage to the marketplace. Companies that follow an open-source philosophy make their physical designs and software code available to the public. By doing so, these companies engage a wave of makers, hobbyists and designers who don't just want to buy products, but have a hand in developing them.'"
Power

Stung By Scandal, South Korea Weighs Up Cost of Curbing Nuclear Power 200

Posted by samzenpus
from the add-it-up dept.
mdsolar writes in about an ongoing scandal in South Korea that has rocked their nuclear power program. "It started with a few bogus safety certificates for cables shutting a handful of South Korean nuclear reactors. Now, the scandal has snowballed, with 100 people indicted and Seoul under pressure to rethink its reliance on nuclear power. A shift away from nuclear, which generates a third of South Korea's electricity, could cost tens of billions of dollars a year by boosting imports of liquefied natural gas, oil or coal. Although helping calm safety concerns, it would also push the government into a politically sensitive debate over whether state utilities could pass on sharply higher power bills to households and companies. Gas, which makes up half of South Korea's energy bill while accounting for only a fifth of its power, would likely be the main substitute for nuclear, as it is considered cleaner than coal and plants can be built more easily near cities."
AMD

AMD's Radeon R9 290X Review 212

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-does-it-stack-up? dept.
Billly Gates writes "AMD may have trouble in their CPU department with Intel having superior fabrication plants. However, in the graphics market with GPU chips AMD is doing well. AMD earned a very rare Elite reward from Tomshardware as the fastest GPU available with its fastest r9 for as little as $550 each. NVidia has its top end GPU cards going for $1,000 as it had little competition to worry about. Maximum PC also included some benchmarks and crowned ATI as the fastest and best value card available. AMD/ATI also has introduced MANTLE Api for lower level access than DirectX which is cross platform. This may turn into a very important API as AMD/ATI have their GPUs in the next generation Sony and Xbox consoles as well with a large marketshare for game developers to target"
AMD

AMD's Radeon R9 290X Launched, Faster Than GeForce GTX 780 For Roughly $100 Less 157

Posted by samzenpus
from the greased-lightning dept.
MojoKid writes "AMD has launched their new top-end Radeon R9 290X graphics card today. The new flagship wasn't ready in time for AMD's recent October 8th launch of midrange product, but their top of the line model, based on the GPU codenamed Hawaii, is ready now. The R9 290 series GPU (Hawaii) is comprised of up to 44 compute units with a total of 2,816 IEEE-2008 compliant shaders. The GPU has four geometry processors (2x the Radeon HD 7970) and can output 64 pixels per clock. The Radeon R9 290X features 2816 Stream Processors and an engine clock of up to 1GHz. The card's 4GB of GDDR5 memory is accessed by the GPU via a wide 512-bit interface and the R290X requires a pair of supplemental PCIe power connectors—one 6-pin and one 8-pin. Save for some minimum frame rate and frame latency issues, the new Radeon R9 290X's performance is impressive overall. AMD still has some obvious driver tuning and optimization to do, but frame rates across the board were very good. And though it wasn't a clean sweep for the Radeon R9 290X versus NVIDIA's flagship GeForce GTX 780 or GeForce GTX Titan cards, AMD's new GPU traded victories depending on the game or application being used, which is to say the cards performed similarly."
Input Devices

Patent Filing Reveals Samsung's Designs For Google Glass Competitor 39

Posted by timothy
from the they've-got-their-eyes-on-your-eyes dept.
rjmarvin writes "A South Korean patent filing, complete with memos and device designs has let the cat out of the bag about Samsung's new head-mounted wearable device to compete with Google Glass, two days after Microsoft was found to be testing a similar prototype. The device isn't wireless; in fact it has an attached USB extension to plug into and serve as an extension of a smartphone. The device is categorized as 'sports glasses' to 'take phone calls and listen to music during workouts.' The filing gives an overhead, front, and side view of the proposed device, another entry into the rapidly expanding and increasingly competitive wearables marketplace."
Microsoft

Microsoft Makes It Harder To Avoid Azure 164

Posted by timothy
from the psst-that-shade-of-blue-is-following-you dept.
itwbennett writes "Earlier this week, Microsoft rolled out a handful of hybrid cloud services that make it easy for businesses to start using Azure in a small way. What struck blogger Nancy Gohring about the announcement was 'how deeply Microsoft is integrating Azure into other products,' with the intention of moving long-time customers onto Azure in ways that are hardly perceptible to them."
Security

IZON IP Cameras Riddled With Security Flaws 55

Posted by timothy
from the whose-izon-you? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With recent action by the FTC against TRENDnet, the 'Internet of Things' has taken a sharp turn in the eyes of the public and government with regard to security. This week, Duo Security employee Mark Stanislav presented security research he did on the IZON IP camera from Stem Innovation. Through his testing, Mark found hardcoded credentials for Linux accounts (accessible by Telnet; Yes, — really), an undocumented web interface allowing for viewing a camera's stream (also with hardcoded credentials, user/user), and a variety of other failings including a lack of cryptography in most of the camera's functionality, including when uploading videos to Amazon Web Services's S3 storage." According to the above-linked article, "Contacted by The Security Ledger, Stem Innovation CTO Matt McBeth said that the IZON firmware, server system and iOS applications tested by Stanislav have since been updated, and that the research contains “inaccurate and misleading information.” Stem did not provide specific information about any inaccuracies."
Displays

4K Ultra HD Likely To Repeat the Failure of 3D Television 559

Posted by timothy
from the nostradamus-was-wrong-for-once dept.
New submitter tvf_trp writes "Fox Sports VP Jerry Steinbers has just announced that the broadcaster is not looking to implement 4K broadcasting (which offers four times the resolution of today's HD), stating that 4K Ultra HD is a 'monumental task with not a lot of return.' Digital and broadcasting specialists have raised concerns about the future of 4K technology, drawing parallels with the 3D's trajectory, which despite its initial hype has failed to establish a significant market share due to high price and lack of 3D content. While offering some advantages over 3D (no need for specs, considerable improvement in video quality, etc), 4K's prospects will remain precarious until it can get broadcasters and movie makers on board."
Power

Researchers Tout Electricity Storage Tech That Could Recharge Devices In Minutes 31

Posted by samzenpus
from the but-I-want-it-now dept.
coondoggie writes "Vanderbilt University researchers say they have come up with a way to store electricity on a silicon-based supercapacitor that would let mobile phones recharge in seconds and let them continue to operate for weeks without recharging. The Vanderbilt team said they used porous silicon -- a material with a controllable and well-defined nanostructure made by electrochemically etching the surface of a silicon wafer. This let them create surfaces with optimal nanostructures for supercapacitor electrodes, but it left them with a major problem: Silicon is generally considered unsuitable for use in supercapacitors because it reacts readily with some of chemicals in the electrolytes that provide the ions that store the electrical charge, the researchers said."
Graphics

Next-Gen GPU Progress Slowing As It Aims for 20 nm and Beyond 91

Posted by Soulskill
from the have-you-tried-pinch-to-zoom dept.
JoshMST writes "Why are we in the middle of GPU-renaming hell? AMD may be releasing a new 28-nm Hawaii chip in the next few days, but it is still based on the same 28-nm process that the original HD 7970 debuted on nearly two years ago. Quick and easy (relative terms) process node transitions are probably a thing of the past. 20-nm lines applicable to large ASICs are not being opened until mid-2014. 'AMD and NVIDIA will have to do a lot of work to implement next generation features without breaking transistor budgets. They will have to do more with less, essentially. Either that or we will just have to deal with a much slower introduction of next generation parts.' It's amazing how far the graphics industry has come in the past 18 years, but the challenges ahead are greater than ever."
Power

Silicon Supercapacitor Promises Built-in Energy Storage For Electronic Devices 95

Posted by Soulskill
from the throw-those-ions-in-a-suitcase dept.
Science_afficionado writes "A news release from Vanderbilt University begins, 'Solar cells that produce electricity 24/7, not just when the sun is shining. Mobile phones with built-in power cells that recharge in seconds and work for weeks between charges. These are just two of the possibilities raised by a novel supercapacitor design invented by material scientists ... that is described in a paper published in the Oct. 22 issue of the journal Scientific Reports. It is the first supercapacitor that is made out of silicon so it can be built into a silicon chip along with the microelectronic circuitry that it powers. In fact, it should be possible to construct these power cells out of the excess silicon that exists in the current generation of solar cells, sensors, mobile phones and a variety of other electromechanical devices, providing a considerable cost savings. ... Instead of storing energy in chemical reactions the way batteries do, “supercaps” store electricity by assembling ions on the surface of a porous material. As a result, they tend to charge and discharge in minutes, instead of hours, and operate for a few million cycles, instead of a few thousand cycles like batteries.' The full academic paper is available online."
Transportation

Tesla CEO Elon Musk: Fuel Cells Are 'So Bull@%!#' 479

Posted by Soulskill
from the oh-the-humanity dept.
Frosty P sends this quote from AutoblogGreen: "Elon Musk is unafraid to speak his mind. Whether he's talking about other players in the electric vehicle space or sub-par reporting from The New York Times, this is a man with few filters. Musk says that fuel cells are not part of the solution that electric vehicles offer for giving up the hydrocarbon addiction. After commenting that the only reason some automakers are pursuing hydrogen technology is for marketing purposes, that lithium batteries are superior mass- and volume-wise for a given range, and that fuel cells are too expensive, Musk capped it all off with the safety issue. 'Oh god, a fuel cell is so bull@%!#,' Musk said. 'Hydrogen is quite a dangerous gas. You know, it's suitable for the upper stage of rockets, but not for cars,' he said."
Cellphones

LG Launches Its Firefox OS Phone Fireweb for $200 91

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the mozilla-prepares-to-eat-google dept.
SmartAboutThings writes "LG has launched the Fireweb Firefox OS smartphone in a joint event with the Telefonica Vivo carrier. The Fireweb Firefox OS smartphone will be available for around $200 and will join the Alcatel One Touch Fire which Telfonia is launching in Brazil, starting today. Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay are the next countries to get it. The Fireweb smartphone is LG's very first Firefox OS device and it increases the small number of OEMs that have released Firefox OS devices on the market. The smartphone has a 4-inch screen with a 480 x 320 display, a 1GHz Qualcomm processor and 4GB internal storage that can be expanded with the microSD card slot by up to 32GB. It has a 5-megapixel cameras that comes with both autofocusing and an LED flash, which is a first for Firefox OS phones." Hopefully an OEM releases a Firefox OS phone with beefier hardware, but you can't argue with the price.
Graphics

Improved Image Quality For HMDs Like Oculus Rift 55

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the barrel-roll dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The combination of smartphone panels with relatively cheap and light-weight lenses enabled affordable wide-angle Head Mounted Displays like the Oculus Rift. However, these optics introduce distortions when viewing the image through the HMD. So far these have been compensated for in software by using post-processing pixel shaders that warp the image. However, by doing so a loss in image quality (sharpness) can be perceived. Now researchers from Intel found a way around this error by using different sampling for rendering, therefore potentially increasing the image quality of all current and future HMDs with a wide field of view." Rather than applying barrel distortion to the final raster image, the researchers warp the scene geometry during rasterization. However, it currently requires ray tracing so it's a bit computationally expensive. Note that a vertex transformation can be used (with tessellation used to enhance the approximation), but the results are of variable quality.
Printer

Ask Slashdot: Best SOHO Printer Choices? 381

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-print-it-in-the-cloud! dept.
rueger writes "I can remember trading up from a daisy-wheel printer to dot matrix, and can remember when Jerry Pournelle used to say 'Buy the most expensive HP printer you can afford.' Mine was a 4P. Times have changed, though, and I'm looking for trustworthy advice before buying a couple of new printers. Specifically, a B&W Laser with sheet feed scanner, and a color inkjet with a solid flatbed scanner for copying music. We want solid, reliable machines that will give a few years of small office service, that have reasonably cheap consumables, and that will "just work" with Windows and Linux. Network ready of course. Let me expand. These days there seems to be no market leader in printers — they tend to be cheap disposable items. Part of the reason is that it is hard to find any real user reviews of these machines — most of the comments on Best Buy or other sites are full of fanboy enthusiasm, or extreme negativity — nothing that can be relied on. Between those, and the sock puppets, and the astroturfing, there's nothing I'd trust. I do trust Slashdot, though, for things like this. People here are able to offer realistic advice and experience that can usually tell the story. So, I ask: who's making good printers these days?"
Displays

A Look Inside the 8K Theater Technology At the Newly Renovated Fiske Planetarium 44

Posted by Soulskill
from the imagine-playing-quake-3-on-that-thing dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Sky gazers at CU-Boulder's Fiske Planetarium are getting better, clearer and deeper views. And not just of astronomy anymore. The planetarium has been upgraded, transforming it into a digital IMAX-like theater that's open to the public every Saturday and Sunday with a variety of programs including shows for children. 'Fiske's refurbished video system projects ultra high-definition pictures at 8,000 by 8,000 pixels in size, giving audience members a crystal-clear 360-degree view on the dome’s 65-foot screen. "The size and quality is the equivalent of 40 Blu-ray players projecting 40 sections of one video image at once," said [Doug Duncan, director of Fiske]. This gallery of images shows a behind-the-scenes look at the Planetarium's brand new 8k Fulldome projection system. ' In addition to space odysseys and laser shows — longtime favorites of audiences — movies are now part of the Fiske lineup. 'Just like at an IMAX theater, we can take you near a black hole, through the Grand Canyon, under the ocean, or up to a super volcano,' said Duncan. "The sky is no longer the limit.'"
Hardware

Scenes from the Fort Wayne Regional Maker Faire (Video) 16

Posted by Roblimo
from the industry-is-what-made-our-country-great dept.
Slashdot visited Fort Wayne, Indiana, during its 2013 Maker Faire. We brought back videos of R2D2 model makers in all their bleeping glory, Mad Sasquatch Rocketry launching rockets, and functioning home-made jet engines, which no Maker Faire should be without. Since Fort Wayne has a strong industrial history, it is not surprising that this Maker Faire had more industrial-scale exhibits than most maker-type events Slashdot has attended. The noise level in much of the event area was industrial scale, too, which is why this video sounds the way it does. But we love large, noisy machinery, not just computers so quiet you can't hear their fans (if, indeed, they *have* fans), so we're happy to enjoy some good Industrial Sound and check out some of Mark Phenicie's steampunk creations now and then.
Input Devices

USB Implementers Forum Won't Play Nice With Open Hardware 273

Posted by timothy
from the keeping-the-universal-out-of-universal dept.
DeathToBill writes "Hack A Day reports on the attempts of open hardware hackers to obtain a vendor and product ID for their devices to be able to sell them as USB compliant: 'A not for profit foundation [in this case Arachnid Labs] could buy a VID, give PIDs away to foundation members making open source hardware, and we would all live in a magical world of homebrew devices that are certified as USB compliant.' The USB Implementers Forum, which controls the sale of PIDs, has lawyered up, responding to the effort with a cease and desist notice, requiring Arachnid Labs to stop 'raising funds to purchase a unique USB VID' and 'delete all references to the USB-IF, VIDs and PIDs for transfer, resale or sublicense from your website and other marketing materials.' A slight over-reaction? Or dark conspiracy against open hardware? You decide!"
Windows

Why Does Windows Have Terrible Battery Life? 558

Posted by Soulskill
from the optimized-for-profit dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror is trying to figure out why the battery life for devices running Windows is so much worse than similar (or identical) devices running other operating systems. For example, the Surface Pro 2 made great strides over the original Surface Pro, increasing web-browsing battery life by 42%, but it still lags far behind Android and iOS tablets. The deficit doesn't get any better when Windows is run on Apple hardware. Atwood says, 'Microsoft positions Windows 8 as an operating system that's great for tablets, which are designed for casual web browsing and light app use – but how can that possibly be true when Windows idle power management is so much worse than the competition's desktop operating system in OS X – much less their tablet and phone operating system, iOS?' Anand Lal Shimpi is perplexed, too. Atwood is now reaching out to the community for answers: 'None of the PC vendors he spoke to could justify it, or produce a Windows box that managed similar battery life to OS X. And that battery life gap is worse today – even when using Microsoft's own hardware, designed in Microsoft's labs, running Microsoft's latest operating system released this week. Microsoft can no longer hand wave this vast difference away based on vague references to "poorly optimized third party drivers." ... I just wish somebody could explain to me and Anand why Windows is so awful at managing idle power.'"
Transportation

New York City To Get Manhole Covers That Wirelessly Charge Electric Vehicles 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the sending-power-through-the-ether dept.
Lucas123 writes "A new project between NYU and start-up HEVO Power will disguise wireless charging stations in manhole covers. The wireless charging stations are aimed at providing fleets of delivery vehicles with power in parking spaces around the city. Next year, Toyota plans to test a wireless charging Prius in Japan, Europe. And, U.S. Auto electronics giant Delphi is developing technology for electric vehicles that could be used industrywide. The charging stations could be embedded in asphalt or pads that lay on garage floors. Wireless charging, however, still has many obstacles to overcome, including the time it takes to recharge a vehicle, cost to deploy the technology and power loss during electrical transfer."
Graphics

Freedreno Graphics Driver Gets PRIME, Render Node Support 14

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the reverse-engineering-better-than-forward-engineering dept.
Via Phoronix comes news that the new DRM driver for the Freedreno driver for Qualcomm Snapdragon Adreno graphics is gaining a few new features in Linux 3.13: "After a year of working on the 'Freedreno' Gallium3D user-space driver and getting that up to speed for Qualcomm Adreno/Snapdragon support, for the past few months he's been working on a complementary kernel driver rather than relying upon Qualcomm's Android-focused kernel layer. ... The work that Rob has ready for Linux 3.13 with this Qualcomm DRM graphics driver is DRI PRIME support, support for render nodes, updated header files, plane support, and a couple of other changes."
Networking

Your Next Network Operating System Is Linux 192

Posted by timothy
from the it-even-runs-on-computers dept.
jrepin writes "Everywhere you look, change is afoot in computer networking. As data centers grow in size and complexity, traditional tools are proving too slow or too cumbersome to handle that expansion. Dinesh Dutt is Chief Scientist at Cumulus Networks. Cumulus has been working to change the way we think about networks altogether by dispensing with the usual software/hardware lockstep, and instead using Linux as the operating system on network hardware. In this week's New Tech Forum, Dinesh details the reasons and the means by which we may see Linux take over yet another aspect of computing: the network itself."
Hardware

Are We Socially Ready For Wearable Computing? 214

Posted by timothy
from the google-glass-still-makes-you-a-four-eyes dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Smart watches have arrived, and Google Glass is on its way. As early-adopters start to gain some experience with these devices, they're learning some interesting lessons about how wearable computing affects our behavior differently from even smartphones and tablets. Vint Cerf says, 'Our social conventions have not kept up with the technology.' Right now, it's considered impolite to talk on your cellphone while checking out at the grocery store, or to ignore a face-to-face conversation in favor of texting somebody. But 20 years ago, those actions weren't even on our social radar. Wearable devices create some obvious social problems, like the aversion to Glass's ever-present camera. But there are subtler ones, as well, for which we'll need to develop another set of social norms. A Pebble smart watch user gave an example: 'People thought I was being rude and checking the time constantly when I was really monitoring incoming messages. It sent the wrong signal.' The article continues, 'Therein lies the wearables conundrum. You can put a phone away and choose not to use it. You can turn to it with permission if you're so inclined. Wearables provide no opportunity for pause, as their interruptions tend to be fairly continuous, and the interaction is more physical (an averted glance or a vibration directly on your arm). It's nearly impossible to train yourself to avoid the reflex-like response of interacting. By comparison, a cell phone is away (in your pocket, on a table) and has to be reached for.'"
Cellphones

Sleeper: LG G2 One of the Fastest Android Smartphones On the Market 108

Posted by timothy
from the prefers-to-go-by-lucky-goldstar dept.
MojoKid writes "The LG G2 is the follow-up to LG's Optimus G Pro. It's also one of the few smartphones on the market right now powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 quad-core SoC. The G2 sports a 5.2-inch 1080p display, 2GB of RAM and up to 32GB of on board storage. However, the 2.26GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 chip on board also has Qualcomm's Adreno 330 GPU that even gives NVIDIA's Tegra 4 a run for its money in gaming and graphics performance. Though the G2 has a rather unorthodox volume rocker and power button assembly on the back of the phone, once you get used to the location, it's actually a pretty comfortable control system. What's pretty impressive though is the G2's performance combined with its 3000mAh battery that offers a solid balance of horsepower and battery life and rivals flagship phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Apple's iPhone 5S."
Power

Carbon-Negative Energy Machines Catching On 228

Posted by Soulskill
from the sorry-carbon-everybody-hates-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "All Power Labs in Berkeley, California has produced and sold over 500 machines that take in dense biomass and put out energy. What makes the machines special is that instead of releasing carbon back into the atmosphere, it's concentrated into a lump charcoal that makes excellent fertilizer. The energy is produced cheaply, too; many of the machines went to poor nations who normally pay much more per kilowatt. '[T]he PowerPallets are still relatively simple, at least as far as their users are concerned. For one, thing Price explained, much of the machine is made with plumbing fixtures that are the same everywhere in the world. That means they're easy to repair. At the same time, while researchers at the 50 or so institutions that have bought the machines are excited by opening up the computer control system and poking around inside, a guy running a corn mill in Uganda with a PowerPallet "will never need to open that door and never will," Price said.'"
Data Storage

OCZ May Be On Its Last Legs 292

Posted by Soulskill
from the long-term-warranty-looking-less-useful dept.
itwbennett writes "OCZ, one of the first commercial solid-state drive (SSD) makers has been blaming a shortage of NAND for its woes for some time now, but things have taken a precipitous turn for the worse: 'For its second fiscal quarter ended August 31, 2013, revenue was $33.5 million, a huge drop compared to revenue of $55.3 million for the first quarter of 2013 and revenue of $88.6 million for the second quarter of 2012. The net loss for this quarter was massive, $26 million, a doubling of the $13.1 million loss in the same quarter last year.' The company has burned through cash, its stock collapsed, and now so have sales. Meanwhile, other SSD makers are doing well. So what is happening here?"
Input Devices

Advances In Cinema Tech Overcoming a Strange Racial Divide 164

Posted by timothy
from the colorblindness-considered-harmful dept.
barlevg writes "Since the birth of film, shooting subjects of darker complexion has been a technical challenge: light meters, film emulsions, tone and color models, and the dynamic range of the film itself were all calibrated for light skin, resulting in dark skin appearing ashy and washed-out. Historically, filmmakers have used workarounds involving "a variety of gels, scrims and filters." But now we live in the age of digital filmmaking, and as film critic Ann Hornaday describes in the Washington Post, and as is showcased in recent films such as "12 Years a Slave," "Mother of George" and "Black Nativity," a collection of innovators have set to work developing techniques in lighting, shooting and post-processing designed to counteract century-old technological biases as old as the medium itself."
Software

Crossing the Divide From Software Dev To Hardware Dev 105

Posted by timothy
from the switch-hitting-by-hitting-switches dept.
First time accepted submitter szczys writes "Quinn Dunki spent decades developing software before she fabricated her own 6502-based computer. Here she talks about crossing between software and hardware (or the other way around) and why this is easier today than it has been in the past."
Power

Communications Protocol Leaves Power Grid Vulnerable 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the electricity-is-a-luxury dept.
mspohr writes "The NY Times has an interesting story about a pair of researchers who 'discovered that they could freeze, or crash, the software that monitors a [power] substation, thereby blinding control center operators from the power grid.' These two engineers wrote software to test for vulnerabilities in the control systems of electrical power grids which use a protocol called DNP3 to communicate with sub-stations. They first tested an open source implementation of the protocol and didn't find any problems. They were worried that their software test wasn't adequate so they started testing proprietary systems. The broke every single one of the 16 proprietary systems they tested initially and found nine more systems vulnerable in later testing. They were able to install malware and also found firewalls ineffective. The pair reported this to the Department of Homeland Security's Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team, I.C.S.-C.E.R.T. and didn't get much of a response. It's scary that our electrical grid is so vulnerable and there doesn't seem to be much urgency to get it fixed. A few patches have been issued, but who knows if the systems have been updated?"
Graphics

NVIDIA's G-Sync Is VSync Designed For LCDs (not CRTs) 139

Posted by Soulskill
from the g-is-the-new-v dept.
Phopojijo writes "A monitor redraws itself top to bottom because of how the electron guns in CRT monitors used to operate. VSync was created to align the completed frames, computed by a videocard, to the start of each monitor draw; without it, midway through a monitor's draw process, a break (horizontal tear) would be visible on screen between the two time-slices of animation. Pixels on LCD monitors do not need to wait for above lines of pixels to be drawn, but they do. G-Sync is a technology from NVIDIA to make monitor refresh rates variable. The monitor will time its draws to whenever the GPU is finished rendering. A scene which requires 40ms to draw will have a smooth 'framerate' of 25FPS instead of trying to fit in some fraction of 60 FPS." NVIDIA also announced support for three 4k displays at the same time. That resolution would be 11520×2160.
Businesses

Barbarians At the Gateways 321

Posted by Soulskill
from the our-stock-economy-is-stupid dept.
CowboyRobot writes "Former high-frequency trader Jacob Loveless gives an in-depth description of the math and technology involved in HFT. From the article: 'The first step in HFT is to place the systems where the exchanges are. Light passing through fiber takes 49 microseconds to travel 10,000 meters, and that's all the time available in many cases. In New York, there are at least six data centers you need to collocate in to be competitive in equities. In other assets (foreign exchange, for example), you need only one or two in New York, but you also need one in London and probably one in Chicago. The problem of collocation seems straightforward: 1. Contact data center. 2. Negotiate contract. 3. Profit. The details, however, are where the first systems problem arises. The real estate is extremely expensive, and the cost of power is an ever-crushing force on the bottom line. A 17.3-kilowatt cabinet will run $14,000 per month. Assuming a modest HFT draw of 750 watts per server, 17 kilowatts can be taken by 23 servers. It's also important to ensure you get the right collocation. In many markets, the length of the cable within the same building is a competitive advantage. Some facilities such as the Mahwah, New Jersey, NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) data center have rolls of fiber so that every cage has exactly the same length of fiber running to the exchange cages.'"
Hardware

Predicting the Future of Electronics and IT by Watching Component Demand (Video) 41

Posted by Roblimo
from the maybe-it's-better-to-study-electrical-engineering-than-computer-science dept.
A big question college students should be asking is, "What IT and electronics knowledge will be most in demand five or six years from now?" In these fast moving niches, an answer is almost impossible to come by. But what if you were one of the people who supplied raw components to the electronics industry? Wouldn't you have a better handle than most on what kind of devices and components are becoming more popular among prototypers and engineers? And wouldn't watching those trends possibly give you at least a little insight into what the future might hold? Randy Restle, Director of Applications Engineering at component supplier Digi-Key Corporation, carefully tracks orders and tries to determine what's hot and what's not. His reason for doing so is to figure out what Digi-Key should stock in coming months and years. But his insights can also be used to decide what you might want to study or -- if you're already working in the field -- what products you or your company should consider developing. Digi-Key also has an online video library where they feature new products and give ideas of what you can do with them. Even if you're not an engineer or electronics hobbyist, it's fun to see what's available but may not have hit the mass market quite yet.
Intel

Intel's 14nm Broadwell Delayed Because of Low Yield 96

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the physics-hates-materials-engineers dept.
judgecorp writes "Intel has put back the delivery of its 14nm Broadwell desktop chip by a quarter because of a manufacturing issue that leaves it with too high a density of defects. The problem has been fixed, says CEO Brian Krzanich, who says, 'This happens sometimes in development phases.'" The good news is that it is just a defect density issue. A first round of tweaks failed to increase yield, but Intel seems to think a few more improvements to the 14nm process will result in acceptable yield.
Transportation

Volvo Developing Nano-Battery Tech Built Into Car Body Panels 178

Posted by timothy
from the thinking-outside-the-boxy dept.
cartechboy writes "Electric vehicle batteries have three problems — they're big, heavy, and expensive. But what if you could shift EV batteries away from being big blocks under the car and engineer them into the car itself? Research groups at Imperial College London working with Volvo have spent three years developing a way to do exactly that. The researchers are storing energy in nano structure batteries woven into carbon fiber--which can then be formed into car body panels. These panel-style batteries charge and store energy faster than normal EV batteries, and they are also lighter and more eco-friendly. The research team has built a Volvo S80 prototype featuring the panels where the battery panel material has been used for the trunk lid. With the materials used on the doors, roof and hood, estimated range for a mid-size electric car is around 80 miles."
Graphics

NVIDIA Demos "Digital Ira" With Faceworks On Next-Gen SoC, Under Ubuntu 45

Posted by timothy
from the is-it-creepy-yet? dept.
MojoKid writes "NVIDIA is holding a tech event currently in Montreal to showcase a number of the tools and technologies the company has developed to foster state of the art in game development. NVIDIA's VP of Content and Technology, Tony Tomasi took a moment to show off Faceworks, and the 'Digital Ira' face that they've demoed at various events over the last year or so. This particular demo was a little different, however, in that it was running on Logan test kit. If you're unfamiliar, Logan is the codename for one of NVIDIA's next-gen mobile SoCs, which features a Kepler-based GPU, like current GeForce GTX 600 and 700 series parts. The demo ran perfectly smooth and the quality of imagery was as good as we've seen on any other platform to date, console, PC or mobile. Incidentally, the demo was running on an Ubuntu Linux OS."
Robotics

How To Attend Next Week's Robotics Show Robotically 38

Posted by samzenpus
from the from-the-confort-of-your-own-chair dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Suitable Technologies is offering $50 rentals of its Beam mobile telepresence robot, allowing 50 robotics enthusiasts to remotely attend the RoboBusiness conference in Santa Clara, Calif. on Oct. 23-25. The Ubuntu- and ROS-based Beam will be available to the first 50 applicants, letting them explore the show at up to 1.5 meters/sec and interact with others via video conferencing. The bots will be allowed everywhere on the show floor as well as in conference rooms, and the show will be open late to accommodate remote users from distant time zones. The Beam is a good choice for remotely exploring conferences, saving users the cost and time of traveling to an event, says Suitable Tech; for example, RoboBusiness registration costs $1,595, not including hotel and travel. A list of the conference's keynotes, which include one by Christ Urmson, director of Google's Self-Driving Cars project, is available here."
Power

Uneven Enforcement Suspected At Nuclear Plants 93

Posted by Soulskill
from the bring-donuts-for-the-inspectors dept.
mdsolar sends this news from the Associated Press: "The number of safety violations at U.S. nuclear power plants varies dramatically from region to region, pointing to inconsistent enforcement in an industry now operating mostly beyond its original 40-year licenses, according to a congressional study awaiting release. Nuclear Regulatory Commission figures cited in the Government Accountability Office report show that while the West has the fewest reactors, it had the most lower-level violations from 2000 to 2012 — more than 2½ times the Southeast's rate per reactor. The Southeast, with the most reactors of the NRC's four regions, had the fewest such violations, according to the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press. The striking variations do not appear to reflect real differences in reactor performance. Instead, the report says, the differences suggest that regulators interpret rules and guidelines differently among regions, perhaps because lower-level violations get limited review."
Power

ITER Fusion Reactor On Track To Generating Power By 2028 232

Posted by Soulskill
from the iterative-process dept.
ananyo writes "ITER, the multibillion-euro international nuclear-fusion experiment, is on track to generate power by 2028. But some of the science that was supposed to happen along the way is going to be dropped to keep the vision alive. The plans form the main thrust of recommendations by a 21-strong expert panel of international plasma scientists and ITER staff, convened to reassess the project's research plan in the light of the construction delays. The plans were discussed this week at a meeting of ITER's Science and Technology Advisory Committee. The meeting is the start of a year-long review by ITER to try to keep the experiment on track to generate 500 MW of power from an input of 50 MW by 2028, and so hit its target of attaining the so-called Q10, where power output is ten times input or more. ITER initially aims to produce a Q10 for a few seconds, and then for pulses of 300–500 seconds, and work up over the following decade to output ratios of 30 times more power out than in, with pulses lasting almost an hour. Eventually the aim is to develop steady-state plasmas, which will yield information relevant to industrial-scale fusion-power generation. It is experiments relating to the understanding of longer-pulse and steady-state ITER plasmas that are most likely to be delayed beyond 2028."
Input Devices

For Playstation 4 Owners, Bad News On USB, Bluetooth Headsets 292

Posted by timothy
from the when-toys-can't-play-together dept.
itwbennett writes "Until now Sony has done a pretty good job of keeping future Playstation 4 owners happy. But last week they finally hit a rock when Game Informer posted an article about headset compatibility. At launch, USB headsets that work with the PS3 won't work with the PS4. Sony says that eventually there will be a system update that addresses the problem but for now, even your Sony-branded USB headset won't work. If you use a Bluetooth headset (as most PS3 owners do) the news is even worse. Bluetooth headsets will not be supported and no update is planned to address this. ITworld's Peter Smith is shedding a tear for his $250 Turtle Beach PX5 headset."
Hardware

Imagination Tech Announces MIPS-based 'Warrior P-Class' CPU Core 122

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
MojoKid writes "Imagination Technologies has announced the first CPU based on its new version of the MIPS architecture. The new P5600 chip (codenamed Warrior) is a 32-bit CPU based on the MIPS Series 5 architecture and is designed to challenge companies like ARM in the embedded and mobile markets. Major features of the new chip include: support for 40-bit memory extensions, or up to 1TB of RAM, a 128-bit SIMD engine (Single Instruction, Multiple Data), and Hardware virtualization (MIPS R5 can virtualize other machines in hardware). The P5600 core is being touted as supporting up to six cores in a cache-coherent link, most likely similar to ARM's CCI-400. According to IT, the chip is capable of executing 3.5 DMIPs/MHz in CoreMark, which theoretically puts the P5600 on par with the Cortex-A15."
Earth

Why Small-Scale Biomass Energy Projects Aren't a Solution To Climate Change 178

Posted by samzenpus
from the try-something-else dept.
Lasrick writes "Roberto Bissio has an excellent piece in a roundtable on biomass energy, pointing out that small scale biomass energy projects designed for people in poor countries aren't really a solution to climate change. After pointing out that patent protections could impede wide-spread adoption, Bissio adds that the people in these countries aren't really contributing to climate change in the first place: 'Why? Because poor people, whose carbon emissions these technologies would reduce, produce very little carbon in the first place. As I mentioned in Round One, the planet's poorest 1 billion people are responsible for only 3 percent of global carbon emissions. The 1.26 billion people whose countries belong to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development account for 42 percent of emissions. The rich, if they reduced their emissions by just 8 percent, could achieve more climate mitigation than the poor could achieve by reducing their emissions to zero. The rich could manage this 8 percent reduction by altering their lifestyles in barely noticeable ways. For the poor, a reduction of 100 percent would imply permanent misery.'"
Data Storage

Billion Year Storage Media 204

Posted by samzenpus
from the built-to-last dept.
Thorfinn.au writes "Even though the data density of digital information storage has increased tremendously over the last few decades, the data longevity is limited to only a few decades. If we want to preserve anything about the human race which can outlast the human race itself, we require a data storage medium designed to last for 1 million to 1 billion years. In this paper a medium is investigated consisting of tungsten encapsulated by silicon nitride which, according to elevated temperature tests, will last for well over the suggested time."
Input Devices

MIT Develops "Kinect of the Future" 76

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-the-better-to-see-you-with dept.
itwbennett writes "Using radio signals, MIT researchers can pinpoint someone's location — through a wall — with accuracy of +/- 10 centimeters. Fadel Adib, a Ph.D student on the project, said that gaming could be one use for the technology, but that localization is also very important. He said that Wi-Fi localization, or determining someone's position based on Wi-Fi, typically requires the user to hold a transmitter, like a smartphone for example. 'What we're doing here is localization through a wall without requiring you to hold any transmitter or receiver [and] simply by using reflections off a human body,' he said. 'What is impressive is that our accuracy is higher than even state of the art Wi-Fi localization.'"

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