antdude writes "Pumpktris is a fully playable version of Tetris built into a pumpkin, with 128 Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) for the display and the stem serving as a game controller."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
centre21 writes "I've been reading about solar-powered aircraft all over the Internet, as well as solar power in general. But I'm wondering: is it more than just solar cell efficiency that's preventing the creation of a solar-powered airliner? Conspiracy views aside (which may be valid), it seems to me that if I were running an airline the size of United or American, eliminating the need for jet fuel as a cost would be highly appealing. So, I'm asking: what stands in the way of creating true solar-powered airliners?"
miller60 writes "At least three data center buildings in lower Manhattan are struggling with power problems amid widespread flooding and utility outages caused by Hurricane Sandy. Flooded basements at two sites took out diesel fuel pumps, leaving them unable to refuel generators on higher levels. One of these was Datagram, which knocked out Buzzfeed and the Gawker network of sites. At 111 8th Avenue, some tenants lost power when Equinix briefly experienced generator problems." The NY Times has a running list of Sandy-related problems, including 5,700 more flight cancellations, 6 million people without power, rising water levels at a nuclear plant, official disaster declarations from President Obama, and a death toll of 38. On the upside, and despite the high water levels, the Nuclear Energy Institute was quick to point out that all 34 nuclear facilities in Sandy's path made it through without problems.
MrSeb writes "There have been plenty of rumors about how the Nexus program was going to grow and change with this year's announcement. Now that we have all the details, it looks like almost none of them were right. There is no Nexus certification program, and the dream of multiple Nexus phones seems well and truly dead. What we do have is a range of device sizes with the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10. However, the Nexus program has been altered in one important way: we know what Nexus means now. There can no longer be any doubt: a Nexus device is about openness first and foremost. Last year the technology sphere was busily discussing whether or not the Verizon Galaxy Nexus was a 'true' Nexus device. This year we have an answer: a Nexus controlled by a carrier is no Nexus. Rather than get in bed with Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T to produce an LTE version of the Nexus 4, we have HSPA+ only. Even the new Nexus 7 with mobile data is limited to this enhanced 3G standard. And then there's the pricing: The super high-resolution (2560×1600) Nexus 10 tablet starts at just $399; The Nexus 7 is dropping in price to $199 for a 16GB tablet; The Nexus 4 with 16GB of storage is going to sell for $349, exactly the same as the old Galaxy Nexus was until yesterday. To put this into perspective, the LG Optimus G, which the Nexus 4 is based on, sells for $550 without subsidy. Google is pushing the idea of openness with the Nexus devices, but it's not an entirely altruistic endeavor. By giving us cheap and open devices, Google is making sure it's in control — not the carriers. That's better for the consumers, but it's also better for Google."
An anonymous reader writes with this snippet from MAKE's blog: "Tangible interface designer and inventor Andrea Bianchi, along with his colleague, Ian Oakley (University of Madeira / Carnegie Mellon Europe), have come with a novel approach to interacting with a mobile device. Using the magnetometer built into most modern smartphones, Bianchi and Oakley have created a series of tangible user interface demonstrations that go beyond what's achievable with capacitive touch displays."
CWmike writes "Intel researchers are working on a 48-core processor for smartphones and tablets, but it could be five to 10 years before it hits the market. Having a 48-core chip in a small mobile device would open up a whole new world of possibilities. 'If we're going to have this technology in five to 10 years, we could finally do things that take way too much processing power today,' said analyst Patrick Moorhead. 'This could really open up our concept of what is a computer... The phone would be smart enough to not just be a computer but it could be my computer.' Enric Herrero, a research scientist at Intel Labs in Barcelona, explained that with the prototype chip someone could, for instance, be encrypting an email while also working on other power-intensive apps at the same time — without hiccups. Same for HD video. Intel's Tanausu Ramirez said it could also boost battery life. 'The chip also can take the energy and split it up and distribute it between different applications,' he said. Justin Rattner, Intel's CTO, told Computerworld that a 48-core chip for small mobile devices could hit the market 'much sooner' than the researchers' 10-year prediction."
Charging portable devices without needing to carry a power adapter sounds handy, and it's slowly getting closer to widespread use. IPAQ2000 writes that AT&T, Google and Starbucks announced yesterday "that they have joined the Power Matters Alliance (PMA). Founded by Powermat Technologies and Procter & Gamble, the PMA's Honorary Chairman is Google's Vint Cerf – one of the fathers of the Internet — and its board now also includes AT&T, Duracell, Google and Starbucks. The U.S. Government's Energy Star and Federal Communications Commission – both PMA members — are board observers." (How does Starbucks come into it? They're "testing PMA-compatible Wireless Charging Spots in select Boston stores.")
Hugh Pickens writes "NPR reports that Sweden's program of generating energy from garbage is wildly successful, but recently its success has also generated a surprising issue: There is simply not enough trash. Sweden has recently begun to import about eight hundred thousand tons of trash from the rest of Europe per year to use in its power plants. Sweden already brings trash from Norway and hopes to get garbage from Italy, Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltic countries. Sweden creates energy for around 250,000 homes and powers one-fifth of the district heating system. Its incineration plants offer a look into the future where countries could potentially make money off of their trash instead of dumping. Landfilling of organic materials – a highly inefficient and environmentally degrading system (PDF) — has been forbidden in Sweden since 2005 and emissions of the greenhouse gas methane from landfills has fallen dramatically (PDF). 'I hope that we instead will get the waste from Italy or from Romania or Bulgaria or the Baltic countries because they landfill a lot in these countries,' says Catarina Ostlund, a senior advisor for the country's environmental protection agency. 'They don't have any incineration plants or recycling plants, so they need to find a solution for their waste.'"
angry tapir writes "AMD has announced it will sell ARM-based server processors in 2014, ending its exclusive commitment to the x86 architecture and adding a new dimension to its decades-old battle with Intel. AMD will license a 64-bit processor design from ARM and combine it with the Freedom Fabric interconnect technology it acquired when it bought SeaMicro earlier this year."
crookedvulture writes "The next generation of NAND has arrived. Intel's latest 335 Series SSD sports 20-nm flash chips that are 29% smaller than the previous, 25-nm generation. The NAND features a new planar cell structure with a floating, high-k/metal gate stack, a first for the flash industry. This cell structure purportedly helps the 20-nm NAND overcome cell-to-cell interference, allowing it to offer the same performance and reliability characteristics of the 25-nm stuff. The performance numbers back up that assertion, with the 335 Series matching other drives based on the same SandForce controller silicon. The 335 Series may end up costing less than the competition, though; Intel has set the suggested retail price at an aggressive $184 for the 240GB drive, which works out to just 77 cents per gigabyte."
An anonymous reader writes "My company is pursuing a RAM upgrade, resulting in 500+ used DDR3 4GB DIMMs. What could this be used for? Are there any cheap products on the market which can take a huge number of DIMMs? Is there a worthy cause we should donate the gear to?"
hypnosec writes "The Oak Ridge National Laboratory has unveiled a new supercomputer – Titan, which it claims is the world's most powerful supercomputer, capable of 20 petaflops of performance. The Cray XK7 supercomputer contains a total of 18,688 nodes and each node is based on a 16-core AMD Opteron 6274 processor and a Nvidia Tesla K20 Graphical Processing Unit (GPU). To be used for researching climate change and other data-intensive tasks, the supercomputer is equipped with more than 700 terabytes of memory."
First time accepted submitter yawaramin writes "IBM has apparently made a breakthrough in arranging carbon nanotubes into the logic gates necessary to make a chip. This should help miniaturize and speed up processors beyond what today's silicon-based technologies are capable of. The article notes though that perfecting the carbon nanotube technology could take up the rest of this decade."
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft has released their much anticipated SmartGlass application for Android, allowing the Linux-based mobile OS to act as an input device for their Xbox 360 game console. While the app has its share of annoying problems, it does offer a glimpse into a possible future where consumer electronics are no longer crippled by the artificial barriers of manufacturer or operating system."
An anonymous reader writes "University of British Columbia researchers have developed a wireless charging system for electric cars. It involves a spinning magnet beneath the parked vehicle which turns another magnet in the underside of the car. Charging takes four hours and is about 90% as efficient as plugging in. From the article: '"One of the major challenges of electric vehicles is the need to connect cords and sockets in often cramped conditions and in bad weather," says David Woodson, managing director of UBC Building Operations. "Since we began testing the system, the feedback from drivers has been overwhelmingly positive." Four wireless charging stations have been installed at UBC's building operations parking lot. Tests show the system is more than 90 per cent efficient compared to a cable charge. A full charge takes four hours and enables the vehicle to run throughout an eight-hour shift.'"
whoever57 writes "In an interview in Der Spiegel, Craig Mundie blames Microsoft's failure in mobile on cyber criminals. Noting that Microsoft had a music player before the iPod and a touch device before the iPad, he claims a failure to execute within Microsoft resulted in Microsoft losing its 'leadership.' The reason for the failure to execute, in his words: 'During that time, Windows went through a difficult period where we had to shift a huge amount of our focus to security engineering. The criminal activity in cyberspace was growing dramatically ten years ago, and Microsoft was basically the only company that had enough volume for it to be a target. In part because of that, Windows Vista took a long time to be born.'"
the_newsbeagle writes "Adrian Cheok, a professor of electrical engineering in Japan, wants to invent a "multisensory Internet" that will transmit not just information, but also experiences. To usher in this new age, he started by building a haptic system that enabled him to send a hug to a chicken via the Internet. Next came the 'huggy pajama' project, which allowed distant parents to send their kid a goodnight squeeze. Lately he's begun working on sending a taste over the internet with his 'digital lollypop' project."
hackingbear writes "China Unicom, the country's second largest telecom operator, has replaced Cisco Systems routers in one of the country's most important backbone networks, citing security reasons [due to bugs and vulnerability.) The move came after a congressional report branded Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. security threats in the United States, citing bugs and vulnerability (rather than actual evidence of spying.) Surprising to us, up to now, Cisco occupies a large market share in China. It accounts for over a 70 percent share of China Telecom's 163 backbone network and over an 80 percent share of China Unicom's 169 backbone network. Let's wait to see who's the winner in this trade war disguised as national security."
An anonymous reader writes "Ubuntu for the Nexus 7 was released today and Ubuntu Member Benjamin Kerensa has provided photos and video of it in action." I wish the Nexus 7 had what most Android tablets lack: a full-size USB port (or SD card slot) to make such OS experimenting easier.
Hugh Pickens writes "Tricia Romano writes in the NY Times that over the last 10 years, purchasing a hearing aid had become even more difficult and confusing than buying a new car — and almost as expensive. 'I visited Hearx, the national chain where I had bought my previous aids. There, a fastidious young man spread out a brochure for my preferred brand, Siemens, and showed me three models. The cheapest, a Siemens Motion 300, started at $1,600. The top-of-the-line model was more than $2,000 — for one ear. I gasped.' A hearing aid is basically just a microphone and amplifier in your ear so it isn't clear why it costs thousands of dollars while other electronic equipment like cellphones, computers and televisions have gotten cheaper. Russ Apfel, an engineer who designed a technology now found in all hearing aids, says there is no good reason for the high prices. 'The hearing aid industry uses every new thing, like digital or a new algorithm, to raise prices,' says Apfel. 'The semiconductor industry traditionally reduces the cost of products by 10 to 15 percent a year,' he said, but 'hearing aids go up 8 percent a year annually' and have for the last 20 years."