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Apple Files Patent For Fuel Cell Laptops 215

An anonymous reader writes "Apple Insider reports that Apple recently filed two patents for a new breed of fuel cell-powered laptop computers. The devices would eschew lithium ion batteries in favor of fuel cells that are capable of running for weeks without requiring a recharge. The patents are entitled 'Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device' and oeFuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device."

Major Australian Retailer Accused of Selling Infected Hard Drives 128

skegg writes "Dick Smith, a major Australian electronics retailer, is being accused of regularly selling used hard drives as new. Particularly disturbing is the claim that at least one drive contained malware-infested pirated movies, causing the unlucky buyer significant data loss. Apparently the Fair Trading Commissioner will be conducting an investigation."

Raspberry Pi Beta Boards Unveiled 161

First time accepted submitter anwe79 writes "Those of you who have been wishing for a Raspberry Pi this Christmas will sadly not get your wish granted. However, you may be happy to hear that populated beta boards have now been produced. Beta of course means the boards still have some more testing to undergo. But, if all goes well, those inclined should be able to get their hands on production boards in January!"

NRC Approves New Nuclear Reactor Design 299

hrvatska writes "The NY Times has an article about the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval of the design of Westinghouse's AP1000 reactor for the U.S., clearing the way for two American utilities to continue the construction of projects in South Carolina and Georgia. The last time a nuclear power plant in the U.S. entered service was 1996. The AP1000 was discussed on Slashdot a few years ago."
The Internet

Average Web Page Approaches 1MB 319

MrSeb writes "According to new research from HTTP Archive, which regularly scans the internet's most popular destinations, the average size of a single web page is now 965 kilobytes, up more than 30% from last year's average of 702KB. This rapid growth is fairly normal for the internet — the average web page was 14KB in 1995, 93KB by 2003, and 300KB in 2008 — but by burrowing a little deeper into HTTP Archive's recent data, we can discern some interesting trends. Between 2010 and 2011, the average amount of Flash content downloaded stayed exactly the same — 90KB — but JavaScript experienced massive growth from 113KB to 172KB. The amount of HTML, CSS, and images on websites also showed a significant increase year over year. There is absolutely no doubt that these trends are attributable to the death throes of Flash and emergence of HTML5 and its open web cohorts." If you have a personal home page, how big is it?

Tesla Motors Announces Prices For Their Upcoming Models 503

Shivetya writes with a list of prices for upcoming models from Tesla, noting that "they aren't cheap and the prices are listed assuming the $7500 tax credit. A 160-mile range S will set you back $49,900, the 230-mile is at $59,000, and the 300-mile range S will cost $69,000. Battery sizes are 40, 60, and 85kwh respectively. For your money these cars also include a very large seventeen-inch touchscreen. Is this the electric car you've been waiting for or another rich person's toy?"

AMD Radeon HD 7970 Launched, Fastest GPU Tested 281

MojoKid writes "Rumors of AMD's Southern Island family of graphics processors have circulated for some time, though today AMD is officially announcing their latest flagship single-GPU graphics card, the Radeon HD 7970. AMD's new Tahiti GPU is outfitted with 2,048 stream processors with a 925MHz engine clock, featuring AMD's Graphics Core Next architecture, paired to 3GB of GDDR5 memory connected over a 384-bit wide memory bus. And yes, it's crazy fast as you'd expect and supports DX11.1 rendering. In the benchmarks, the new Radeon HD 7970 bests NVIDIA's fastest single GPU GeForce GTX 580 card by a comfortable margin of 15 — 20 percent and can even approach some dual GPU configurations in certain tests." PC Perspective has a similarly positive writeup. There are people who will pay $549 for a video card, and others who are just glad that the technology drags along the low-end offerings, too.

Reinventing Xerox PARC As a Money Maker 99

bonch writes "After a historical reputation for not monetizing breakthrough technologies (including the mouse and desktop GUI), Xerox PARC is now focused on making money from its inventions. CEO Anne Mulcahy vowed in 2001 to return the company to profitability, encouraging 'open innovation' and mandating that research turned a profit. The latest innovation is thin-film printed electronics, intended for a variety of products, from RFID readers to price labels."

Is Overclocking Over? 405

MrSeb writes "Earlier this week, an ExtremeTech writer received a press release from a Romanian overclocking team that smashed a few overclocking records, including pushing Kingston's HyperX DDR3 memory to an incredible 3600MHz (at CL10). The Lab501 team did this, and their other record breakers, with the aid of liquid nitrogen which cooled the RAM down to a frosty -196C. That certainly qualifies as extreme, but is it news? Ten years ago, overclocking memory involved a certain amount of investigation, research, and risk, but in these days of super-fast RAM and manufacturer's warranties it seems a less intoxicating prospect. As it becomes increasingly difficult to justify what a person should overclock for, has the enthusiast passion for overclocking cooled off?"

The Fjord-Cooled Data Center 195

1sockchuck writes "A new data center project in Norway plans to use a fjord-powered cooling system, drawing cold water from an adjacent fjord to cool data halls. The fjord provides a ready supply of water at 8 degrees C (46 degrees F), eliminating the need for an energy-hungry chiller. The Green Mountain Data Center joins a small but growing number of data centers are slashing their cooling costs by using the environment as their chiller, tapping nearby lakes, wells and even the Baltic Sea."
Christmas Cheer

Hack Your Holiday Decorations 48

jfruhlinger writes "Tired of your code only executing in digital space? Why not hack your smiling snowman? OK, this crash course only shows you how to make pretty LED lights blink in a sequence of your choosing, but it serves to introduce you to Arduino, an open-source platform that uses C-like code. Really, any project that involves a soldering iron is good fun."

Inductive Charging For EVs To Be Tested In Berlin 123

cylonlover writes "The increasing availability of more practical electric vehicles has seen inductive charging technology attract the attention of those looking for for a cable-free way to charge EV batteries. German automakers are taking the opportunity to put inductive charging of EVs to a real-world test as part of the 'Effizienzhaus-Plus mit Elektromobilität' project. The project is a German government-backed initiative to build an energy-efficient house that generates more electricity than it consumes, with the surplus being fed back into the grid or used to charge the occupants' electric vehicles."

Liquid Metal Capsules Used To Make Self-Healing Electronics 135

MrSeb writes "A crack team of engineers at the University of Illinois has developed an electronic circuit that autonomously self-heals when its metal wires are broken. This self-healing system restores conductivity within 'mere microseconds,' which is apparently fast enough that operation can continue without interruption. The self-healing mechanism is delightfully simple: The engineers place a bunch of 10-micron (0.01mm) microcapsules along the length of a circuit. The microcapsules are full of liquid metal, a gallium-indium alloy, and if the circuit underneath cracks, so do the microcapsules (90% of the time, anyway — the tech isn't perfect yet!). The liquid metal oozes into the circuit board, restoring up to 99% conductivity, and everything continues as normal. This even works with multi-layer printed circuit boards (PCBs), such the motherboard in your computer, too. There's no word on whether this same technology could one day be used by Terminators to self-heal shotgun blasts to the face, but it certainly sounds quite similar. The immediate use-cases are in extreme environments (aerospace), and batteries (which can't be taken apart to fix), but long term we might one day buy motherboards with these self-healing microcapsules built in."

Intel Demos Phone and Tablet In New Mobile Chip Push 99

holy_calamity writes "Intel is making another assault on the mobile processor market, showing off a prototype phone and a tablet using its newest mobile processor Medfield. The company claims that products based on the chips will appear in the first half of next year. There's reason to believe that Intel might get somewhere this time. Its chipsets traditionally comprise three separate chips, a design that guzzles power. Medfield introduces an all-in-one chip, mirroring the power efficient design of the ARM-based chips that run smart phones and tablets in the market today."

Apple Buys Israeli Flash Manufacturer 114

Lucas123 writes "According to published reports Apple is plunking down up to $500 million to purchase solid-state drive start-up Anobit Technologies. Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted about the deal congratulating Apple on its first acquisition in his country. Apple is planning to use the acquisition to set up to set up a semiconductor development center in Israel. Apple already uses NAND flash from Anobit in its iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air products, according to the reports."

Kindle Fire and Nook Upgrades Kill Root Access 275

jfruhlinger writes "The Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble Nook tablets are similar enough and close enough together in price that they ought to be fighting market share and one-upping each other in terms of features they offer users. But the latest OS upgrades to both gadgets claims to be an 'upgrade' while actually taking functionality away: both remove the ability to root the device." A more balanced way of looking at it is that the updates fix known local privilege escalation vulnerabilities. This might be more of an issue for people wanting to hack on the Nook Tablet: its bootloader is confirmed locked, but reports lean toward the Kindle Fire having an unlocked bootloader letting anyone flash their own software without needing to gain root first.
Data Storage

Hard Drive Prices Slide As Thai Flood Aftermath Subsides 155

New submitter yeszomgpony writes "For the first time since the Thailand flooding, hard drive prices are finally starting to decrease. The price jump was kicked off in October when drive inventory levels plummeted 90% in less than a week. From the article: 'Over the past few weeks, hard drive prices have leveled off and have begun to drop slowly, according to Dynamite's data. "For first time, less than week after Western Digital's first [fabrication plant] went back on line, drive inventory began increasing at both distributors and ecommerce sites, and index prices began coming down a little too," Kubicki said. IDC has predicted that hard disk drive supply shortages in the wake of Thailand flooding would affect consumers, computer system manufacturers and corporate IT shops into 2013.'"

Google Working On Siri Competitor Majel 360

judgecorp writes "Google is working on a competitor to Apple's Siri voice input system. It's an extension to its existing Voice Actions offering with a name that should ring bells. Majel is named after Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, who was the voice of most of the Star Trek on-board computers, as well as playing Nurse Christine Chapel in the first series and being Gene Roddenberry's wife."

IBM's Five Predictions For the Next Five Years 219

PolygamousRanchKid writes "In each of the past five years, IBM has come up with a list of five innovations it believes will become popular within five years. In this, the sixth year, IBM has come up with the following technologies it thinks will gain traction: (1) People power will come to life. Advances in technology will allow us to trap the kinetic energy generated (and wasted) from walking, jogging, bicycling, and even from water flowing through pipes. (2) You will never need a password again. Biometrics will finally replace the password and thus redefine the word 'hack.' (3) Mind reading is no longer science fiction. Scientists are working on headsets with sensors that can read brain activity and recognize facial expressions, excitement, and more without needing any physical inputs from the wearer. (4) The digital divide will cease to exist. Mobile phones will make it easy for even the poorest of poor to get connected. (5) Junk mail will become priority mail. "In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant it may seem that spam is dead."
Data Storage

Hard Drive Makers Slash Warranties 445

Lucas123 writes "Both Seagate and Western Digital have reduced their hard drive warranties, in some cases from five years to one year. While Western Digital wouldn't explain why, it did say it has nothing to do with the flooding of its manufacturing plants in Thailand, which has dramatically impacted its ability to turn out drives. For its part, Seagate is saying it cut back its warranties to be more closely aligned with other drive manufacturers."