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Open Source

OpenMotics Offers Open Source (and Open Hardware) Home Automation 36

Posted by timothy
from the here-are-your-diagrams dept.
Home automation is a recurring topic around here; we've had stories about X-10-based home-brewed systems, a protocol designed for automation, and more than a few Ask Slashdots. Now, an anonymous reader writes OpenMotics is an open source home automation hardware and software system that offers features like switching lights and outputs, multi-zone heating and cooling, power measurements, and automated actions. The system encompasses both open source software and hardware. For interoperability with other systems, the OpenMotics Gateway provides an API through which various actions can be executed. The project was open sourced 2 years ago and was started about 10 years. The choice to open source the project was very conscious: we want to offer a system where users are in full control over their home automation system.
Handhelds

Ask Slashdot: Best Software To Revive PocketPCs With Windows Mobile 5-6? 110

Posted by timothy
from the don't-knock-interesting-hobbies dept.
An anonymous reader writes I recently got my hands on some amazing (at their time) pieces of technology, PocketPCs from the 2005-2007 era. All run with Windows Mobile 5 or 6, have storage SD cards (up to 4GB), 300 to 600 MHz ARM CPUs and 64-124MB of RAM/ROM. GPS chip is Sirf STAR III. I want to know what software you would install on them. Maybe a good Linux with GUI - if anyone can point on how to make it work. Creating some apps myself would be nice, but dunno where to start for WM5. One of my ideas was to use them as daily organizer / shopping list / memory games for people that don't own smartphones. So if anyone remembers such apps, I'd appreciate a reference. Tips or ideas for memory training or smart games are also highly welcomed. The power within these toys is simply unused and it's a shame!
Data Storage

Seagate Bulks Up With New 8 Terabyte 'Archive' Hard Drive 219

Posted by timothy
from the thought-you'd-like-to-see-my-vacation-slides dept.
MojoKid writes Seagate's just-announced a new 'Archive' HDD series, one that offers capacities of 5TB, 6TB, and 8TB. That's right, 8 Terabytes of storage on a single drive and for only $260 at that. Back in 2007, Seagate was one of the first to release a hard drive based on perpendicular magnetic recording, a technology that was required to help us break past the roadblock of achieving more than 250GB per platter. Since then, PMR has evolved to allow the release of drives as large as 10TB, but to go beyond that, something new was needed. That "something new" is shingled magnetic recording. As its name suggests, SMR aligns drive tracks in a singled pattern, much like shingles on a roof. With this design, Seagate is able to cram much more storage into the same physical area. It should be noted that Seagate isn't the first out the door with an 8TB model, however, as HGST released one earlier this year. In lieu of a design like SMR, HGST decided to go the helium route, allowing it to pack more platters into a drive.
Cellphones

Cardboard Hits Half a Million Mark, Gets an SDK 28

Posted by timothy
from the or-you-can-make-it-yourself dept.
PC Magazine reports (citing a blog post from project manager Andrew Nartker) that Google's Cardboard -- first introduced to some laughter -- is growing up, with a small but growing collection of compatible apps and a recently announced SDK. And while Cardboard itself is pretty low-tech (cardboard, rubber band, a magnet) and consequently cheap, the resulting VR experience is pretty good, which explains why more than 500,000 of them have now shipped.
Handhelds

Apple's iPod Classic Refuses To Die 269

Posted by timothy
from the mine-died-fast dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes A funny thing happened to the iPod Classic on its way to the dustbin of history: people seemed unwilling to actually give it up. Apple quietly removed the iPod Classic from its online storefront in early September, on the same day CEO Tim Cook revealed the latest iPhones and the upcoming Apple Watch. At 12 years old, the device was ancient by technology-industry standards, but its design was iconic, and a subset of diehard music fans seemed to appreciate its considerable storage capacity. At least some of those diehard fans are now paying four times the iPod Classic's original selling price for units still in the box. The blog 9to5Mac mentions Amazon selling some last-generation iPod Classics for $500 and above. Clearly, some people haven't gotten the memo that touch-screens and streaming music were supposed to be the way of the future.
Displays

LG To Show Off New 55-Inch 8K Display at CES 179

Posted by samzenpus
from the more-k dept.
MojoKid writes One of the most in-your-face buzzwords of the past year has been "4K," and there's little doubt that the forthcoming CES show in early January will bring it back in full force. As it stands today, 4K really isn't that rare, or expensive. You can even get 4K PC monitors for an attractive price. There does remain one issue, however; a lack of 4K content. We're beginning to see things improve, but it's still slow going. Given that, you might imagine that display vendors would hold off on trying to push that resolution envelope further – but you just can't stop hardware vendors from pushing the envelope. Earlier this year, both Apple and Dell unveiled "5K" displays that nearly doubled the number of pixels of 4K displays. 4K already brutalizes top-end graphics cards and lacks widely available video content, and yet here we are looking at the prospect of 5K. Many jaws dropped when 4K was first announced, and likewise with 5K. Now? Well, yes, 8K is on its way. We have LG to thank for that. At CES, the company will be showing-off a 55-inch display that boasts a staggering 33 million pixels — derived from a resolution of 7680x4320. It might not be immediately clear, but that's far more pixels than 4K, which suggests this whole "K" system of measuring resolutions is a little odd. On paper, you might imagine that 8K has twice the pixels of 4K, but instead, it's 4x.
Displays

The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait 567

Posted by timothy
from the makes-it-hard-to-type dept.
Molly McHugh writes The vast majority of computer-related tasks see no benefit from a screen that is longer than it is tall. Sure, video playback and gaming are some key exceptions, but if you watch Netflix on your TV instead of your computer monitor and you're not into PC gaming, that long, wide display is doing nothing but hampering your experience. Let's flip it. No, seriously. Let's flip it sideways.
Data Storage

Liquid Cooling On the Rise As Data Centers Crunch Bigger Data 25

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-getting-hot-in-here dept.
1sockchuck writes The use of liquid cooling will accelerate in the next five years, according to experts in high performance computing, who cite the data-crunching requirements of scientific research, cloud computing, bitcoin and "big data" analytics. "In the HPC world, everything will move to liquid cooling," said Paul Arts, technical director of Eurotech. But there's still plenty of resistance from data center operators wary of bringing liquid near servers, and cost is also an issue. Liquid cooling can offer significant savings over the life of a project, but the up-front installation cost can be higher than those for air-cooled systems. Immersion cooling has gotten a surprise boost from the rise of bitcoin, including a large bitcoin mine inside a Hong Kong high-rise.
Robotics

Robots Modeled On Ancient Fish Help Researchers Study Origins of Extinct Species 29

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-stop-them-before-they-evolve-death-rays dept.
Hallie Siegel writes: Hypotheses about the evolution of traits in ancient species are difficult to test, as the animals have often been extinct for thousands or millions of years. In this article, researchers at Vassar College describe how a population of physical, free-swimming robots modeled after ancient fish evolved vertebrae under selection pressures for predator avoidance and foraging ability, showing how evolutionary robotics can be used to help biologists test hypotheses about extinct animals.
Android

$35 Quad-core Hacker SBC Offers Raspberry Pi-like Size and I/O 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the more-competition-more-innovation dept.
DeviceGuru writes: Hardkernel has again set its sights on the Raspberry Pi with a new $35 Odroid-C1 hacker board that matches the RPI's board size and offers a mostly similar 40-pin expansion connector. Unlike the previous $30 Odroid-W that used the same Broadcom BCM2835 SoC as the Pi and was soon cancelled due to lack of BCM2835 SoC availability, the Odroid-C1 is based on a quad-core 1.5GHz Cortex-A5 based Amlogic S805 SoC, which integrates the Mali-400 GPU found on Allwinner's popular SoCs. Touted advantages over the similarly priced Raspberry Pi Model B+ include a substantially more powerful processor, double the RAM, an extra USB2.0 port that adds Device/OTG, and GbE rather than 10/100 Ethernet.
Power

Utilities Face Billions In Losses From Distributed Renewables 280

Posted by Soulskill
from the reacting-slowly-to-new-technology-is-not-a-business-plan dept.
Lucas123 writes: Over the next 10 years, adoption of distributed power in the form of renewables such as solar power has the potential to reduce revenues to grid utilities by as much as $48 billion in the U.S. and by $75 billion in Europe, according to a new study. The study, by Accenture, revealed that utility executives are more nervous (PDF) about the impact of distributed — or locally generated renewable power — than ever before. 61% of those surveyed this year indicated they expect significant or moderate revenue reductions compared to only 43% last year. The cost of rooftop solar-powered electricity will be on par with prices for common coal or oil-powered generation in two years, and the technology to produce it will only get cheaper, according to a recent report from Deutsche Bank. New technologies, such as more efficient solar cells, are also threatening to increase efficiencies and drive adoption.
Hardware

Samsung SSD 850 EVO 32-Layer 3D V-NAND-Based SSD Tested 127

Posted by samzenpus
from the looking-at-the-numbers dept.
MojoKid writes Samsung just took the wraps off a new family of mainstream solid state drives, targeting the market segment previously occupied by its popular SSD 840 EVO series. The new Samsung SSD 850 EVO series is the follow-up to the company's current flagship SSD 850 PRO, but the new EVO is Samsung's first to pack 32layer 3D VNAND 3-bit MLC flash memory. The move to 32layer 3D VNAND 3-bit MLC flash brings pricing down to the .50 to .60 per GiB range, but doesn't adversely affect endurance because the cell structure doesn't suffer from the same inherent limitations of planar NAND, since the cells are stacked vertically with the 3D VNAND. The new 850 EVO drive performs well with large sequential transfers and also offered very low access times. The compressibility of the data being transferred across the Samsung SSD 850 EVO had no impact on performance and small file transfers at high queue depth were fast. Small file transfers with low queues depths, which is what you'd expect to see with most client workloads, were also very good. The Samsung SSD 850 EVO drives also put up excellent numbers in trace-based tests like PCMark 7.
Power

Using Discarded Laptop Batteries To Power Lights 143

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-bet-fresh-laptop-batteries-would-work-even-better dept.
mrspoonsi sends news of an IBM study (PDF) which found that discarded laptop batteries could be used to power lights in areas where there's little or no electrical grid. Of the sample IBM tested, 70% of the used batteries were able to power an LED light for more than four hours every day throughout an entire year. The concept was trialed in the Indian city of Bangalore this year. The adapted power packs are expected to prove popular with street vendors, who are not on the electric grid, as well as poor families living in slums. The IBM team created what they called an UrJar — a device that uses lithium-ion cells from the old batteries to power low-energy DC devices, such as a light. The researchers are aiming to help the approximately 400 million people in India who are off grid.
China

With Eyes on China, Intel Invests Billions In Mobile Ambitions 33

Posted by timothy
from the in-china-intel-gets-you dept.
itwbennett writes The allure of mobile devices has led Intel to take some uncharacteristic moves, partnering with Chinese companies to build some smartphone and tablet chips, and relying on third parties to manufacture those chips. Intel is betting the partnerships will accelerate its business in China, where smartphone shipments are booming. But the company wants to regain complete control over manufacturing, and on Thursday said it was investing $1.6 billion over 15 years in a China plant for mobile chip development and manufacturing.
Power

Why Elon Musk's Batteries Frighten Electric Companies 461

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-for-some-infrastructure-reliability-investments dept.
JoeyRox writes: The publicized goal of Tesla's "gigafactory" is to make electric cars more affordable. However, that benefit may soon be eclipsed by the gigafactory's impact on roof-top solar power storage costs, putting the business model of utilities in peril. "The mortal threat that ever cheaper on-site renewables pose" comes from systems that include storage, said physicist Amory Lovins. "That is an unregulated product you can buy at Home Depot that leaves the old business model with no place to hide."

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