mdsolar writes "An Arizona utility commissioner is asking for all the key players in a debate over a solar energy policy in the state to reveal any additional secret funding of nonprofits or public relations campaigns. The probe comes after Arizona Public Service, the state's largest utility, admitted last week that it had been secretly contributing to outside nonprofits running negative ads against solar power. As The Huffington Post reported Friday, APS recently admitted that it had lied for months about paying the 60 Plus Association, a national conservative organization backed by the Koch brothers, to run ads against current solar net-metering policy. APS is currently pushing the Arizona Corporation Commission to roll back the policy, which allows homeowners and businesses with rooftop solar energy systems to make money by selling excess energy back to the grid. Solar proponents say that the policy has facilitated a solar boom in the state, and that changing it could have a huge negative impact on future growth."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
szotz writes "Keeping up the pace of Moore's Law is hard, but you wouldn't know it from the way chipmakers name their technology. The semiconductor industry's names for chip generations (Intel's 22nm, TSMC's 28nm, etc) have very little to do with actual physical sizes, says IEEE Spectrum. And the disconnect is only getting bigger. For the first time, the "pay us to make your chip" foundries are offering a new process (with a smaller-sounding name) that will produce chips that are no denser than their forbears. The move is not a popular one."
itwbennett writes "This brings to mind an earlier Slashdot discussion about whether we've hit the limit on screen resolution improvements on handheld devices. But this time, the question revolves around ever-faster graphics processing units (GPUs) and the resolution limits of desktop monitors. ITworld's Andy Patrizio frames the problem like this: 'Desktop monitors (I'm not talking laptops except for the high-end laptops) tend to vary in size from 20 to 24 inches for mainstream/standard monitors, and 27 to 30 inches for the high end. One thing they all have in common is the resolution. They have pretty much standardized on 1920x1080. That's because 1920x1080 is the resolution for HDTV, and it fits 20 to 24-inch monitors well. Here's the thing: at that resolution, these new GPUs are so powerful you get no major, appreciable gain over the older generation.' Or as Chris Angelini, editorial director for Tom's Hardware Guide, put it, 'The current high-end of GPUs gives you as much as you'd need for an enjoyable experience. Beyond that and it's not like you will get nothing, it's just that you will notice less benefit.'"
An anonymous reader writes "You thought Halloween was for treats. Not this time. Panasonic announced to its investors today that its plasma TV business would be over by the end of March 2014." Blacker blacks and brighter whites aside, there are some good reasons for the shift.
Sockatume writes "Sony has released a detailed FAQ for the PS4 system, which launches in coming weeks. Of particular note: although Bluetooth headsets will not be compatible, generic 3.5mm and USB audio devices will work; the console will require activation via the internet or a special disk before it will play Blu-ray or DVDs; media servers, MP3s, and audio CDs are not supported. The console's "suspend/resume" and remote assistance features are listed as unavailable for the North American launch, implying that they will be patched in before the console launches in Europe later in November."
Nerval's Lobster writes "It's not clear whether managers at Lenovo were too starstruck to say 'no,' or whether the once-respected PC maker is having so much trouble hiring technical help it genuinely intends to allow lowbrow-sitcom staple Ashton Kutcher serve as both celebrity spokesman and full-on product engineer. Lenovo announced that it had hired Kutcher as a product engineer who will 'work with the company's engineering teams around the world to develop and market the Yoga line of tablets by providing input and decision-making into design, specifications, software and usage scenarios.' Kutcher – former Calvin Klein underwear model, star of such quality entertainment as That '70s Show, Punk'd, current star of Two-and-a-Half Men and, most recently, portrayer of Steve Jobs in the biopic Jobs – has a successful track record of investing in tech companies, Lenovo's announcement said as partial explanation for the arrangement. Kutcher also studied biomechanical engineering as an undergraduate at the University of Iowa, which USA Today and other news outlets used to help bolster the idea that the star of Dude, Where's My Car? could function effectively as part of an engineering product-development team. Kutcher did list his planned major at the university as biomechanical engineering when he enrolled in 1996, but he dropped out during the 1997-98 school year. He did found A-Grade Investments, which has been involved in or funded tech companies including Spotify, Path, Airbnb and Uber, according to Lenovo."
MojoKid writes "Rumors around the what and when of Google's upcoming Nexus 5 smartphone have been plentiful, and ahead of the supposed release date on Halloween, a benchmark score for the handset has slipped out from Rightware, and it's downright impressive. According to Rightware's Power Board, the Nexus 5 delivered the second-highest Benchmark X gaming score among smartphones, behind only the iPhone 5S, making it the most powerful Android-based handset in the land. The LG-made phone shares a GPU (the Adreno 330) with the third-place Sharp Aquos SHL23 but bested the latter handset with a score of 14.27 to 13.10. A leaked user manual revealed that the Nexus 5 will boast a full HD 4.95-inch display, Snapdragon 800 processor (2.3GHz), 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of onboard storage, and 8MP rear-facing and 1.3MP front-facing cameras."
Sockatume writes "The BBC is reporting that Dell's Latitude 6430u Ultrabooks have an interesting characteristic you won't find in any Macbook Air: the palm rest emits an odor like cat urine. An issue with a manufacturing process is thought to be to blame. Although Dell has assured potential customers that the issue has been fixed, reports in the Dell support forum indicate that units with the novel fragrance continue to ship out to users. Dell staff state that the palm rest will be replaced by Dell at no cost, but only if the unit is still under warranty."
Sabine Hauert writes "GimBall is a new flying robot that can collide with objects seamlessly. Generally, flying robots are programmed to avoid obstacles, which is far from easy in cluttered environments. Instead, researchers from the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at EPFL believe that flying robots should be able to physically interact with their surroundings. Take insects: they often collide with obstacles and continue flying afterwards. Their robot uses a passively rotating spherical cage to remain stable even after taking hits from all sides. This approach enables GimBall to fly in the most difficult places without complex sensors."
mrspoonsi writes "Engadget reports 'California is technology's spiritual home in the US, where Teslas roam free, and Google Glass is already a social norm. Well, unless you're a member of the San Diego law enforcement that is — as one unlucky driver just found out. That commuter was Cecilia Abadie, and she's (rather fittingly) taken to Google+ after being given a ticket for driving while wearing her Explorer Edition.'"
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.
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."
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?
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)."
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.
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.
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."
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.'"
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."
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"
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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.
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.
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?"
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.'"
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.
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!"
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.'"
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."
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."
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."
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.'"
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."
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.'"
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?"
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."
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."
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?"
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.
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.'"
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.
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.