New submitter arobatino writes "A new method of manufacturing semiconductors which eliminates the substrate (in other words, no wafer) could be much faster and cheaper. From the article: 'Instead of starting from a silicon wafer or other substrate, as is usual today, researchers have made it possible for the structures to grow from freely suspended nanoparticles of gold in a flowing gas. "The basic idea was to let nanoparticles of gold serve as a substrate from which the semiconductors grow. This means that the accepted concepts really were turned upside down!" Since then, the technology has been refined, patents have been obtained and further studies have been conducted. In the article in Nature, the researchers show how the growth can be controlled using temperature, time and the size of the gold nanoparticles.'"
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An anonymous reader writes "After an amazing Kickstarter campaign garnering over $2.4M in backing, VR headset Manufacture OculusVR has announced manufacturing details and also a shipping delay until March or April 2013. Oculus says that due to the number of backers, mass manufacturing would be required. 'All together, preparing the factory for mass production of a product like the Rift takes approximately 90 days and the factory can’t begin until design and feature set has been locked down. Our manufacturer is already underway with the first tooling (T1), which takes roughly 50-70 days. Once the primary tooling is complete, we’ll do a series of pilot runs for minor tweaks and adjustments before mass production. Simultaneously, we’ll be testing and certifying the device for public use.' Additional details are included on their 1000hz 9DOF head tracker and 7" screen: 'Ultimately, we selected a modern, 1280×800 7’’ display for the developer kit. The bright side is that the new display beats the old display in almost every key area including response time, switching time, contrast, and color quality. The improved switching time of the panel actually alleviates most of the motion blur people saw in earlier prototype demos. The downside to our new 7’’ is the weight differential: approximately 30g more than the 5.6".' It looks like the VR revolution will have to wait a little bit longer."
MojoKid writes "Not many SSD controller manufacturers have been able to compete with the likes of SandForce and the myriad of SATA drives from various OEMs on the market that are based on their technology. However, OCZ took a different approach recently when they acquired SSD controller manufacturer Indilinx and PCI Express Switch maker PLX. Today the company took the wraps of their new Vector line of SSDs. The Vector is the first drive from OCZ to utilize only technologies developed by the unified Indilinx, PLX, and OCZ teams (except for the actual NAND flash), since the acquisitions. The Vector is based on the new INDILINK Barefoot 3 controller, which in terms of its features and specifications, looks competitive with some of the fastest drives on the market currently. In the benchmarks, the drive's IOMeter and CrystalDiskMark scores line up well and OCZ is offering a 5 year warranty on the product."
hypnosec writes "A new flaw has been discovered in printers manufactured by Samsung whereby a backdoor in the form of an administrator account would enable attackers to not only take control of the flawed device, but will also allow them to attack other systems in the network. According to a warning on US-CERT the administrator account is hard-coded in the device in the form of an SNMP community string with full read-write access. The backdoor is not only present in Samsung printers but also in Dell printers that have been manufactured by Samsung. The administrator account remains active even if SNMP is disabled from the printer's administration interface."
nicholast writes "If your driverless car is about to crash into a bus, should it veer off a bridge? NYU Prof. Gary Marcus has a good essay about the need to program ethics and morality into our future machines. Quoting: 'Within two or three decades the difference between automated driving and human driving will be so great you may not be legally allowed to drive your own car, and even if you are allowed, it would immoral of you to drive, because the risk of you hurting yourself or another person will be far greater than if you allowed a machine to do the work. That moment will be significant not just because it will signal the end of one more human niche, but because it will signal the beginning of another: the era in which it will no longer be optional for machines to have ethical systems.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "Netflix has released Hystrix, a library designed for managing interactions between distributed systems, complete with 'fallback' options for when those systems inevitably fail. The code for Hystrix—which Netflix tested on its own systems—can be downloaded at Github, with documentation available here, in addition to a getting-started guide and operations examples, among others. Hystrix evolved out of Netflix's need to manage an increasing rate of calls to its APIs, and resulted in (according to the company) a 'dramatic improvement in uptime and resilience has been achieved through its use.' The Netflix API receives more than 1 billion incoming calls per day, which translates into several billion outgoing calls (averaging a ratio of 1:6) to dozens of underlying systems, with peaks of over 100,000 dependency requests per second. That's according to Netflix engineer Ben Christensen, who described the incredible loads on the company's infrastructure in a February blog posting. The vast majority of those calls serve the discovery user interfaces (UIs) of the more than 800 different devices supported by Netflix."
An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday there was a rumor doing the rounds that Nintendo was set to release a brand new version of the Wii console called the Wii Mini. The new machine would be significantly smaller than the current Wii, is expected to ship with a Wii Remote Plus, Nunchuk, and Sensor Bar, and hopefully carries a much lower (sub-$100) price. Well, it looks as though this wasn't just a rumor. Best Buy Canada has it listed with an image on its front page and a December 7 release date." Also at PC Mag.
New submitter alexanderb writes "While DOOM 3 BFG Edition might not have blown most gamers' minds, it sure blew some hackers' minds by supporting the Oculus Rift head-mounted display. Now, id Software have put up the source code of the BFG Edition under the GPL in good time for the tentative Oculus Rift release date, 12/12/12."
theodp writes "A little birdie told me which Windows 8 machines would sell out fast. 'Cheep' ones! While no official sales figures have emerged, anecdotal evidence suggests that cheap Windows 8 laptops were a big hit with Black Friday shoppers, leaving some Walmart and Best Buy bargain hunters disappointed at missing out on the sub-$250 deals. So, was the Doctor-Desktop-and-Mister-Metro dual nature of Windows 8 and lack of a touchscreen no big deal to these bargain basement 'Laptop Hunters', or did they not realize what they were buying? Or, as a GeekWire commenter suggests, perhaps they were really just looking to score an ultra-cheap Linux laptop!"
1sockchuck writes "During SuperStorm Sandy, few data centers faced a bigger challenge than the Datagram facility in lower Manhattan. The storm surge from Sandy flooded its basement, disabling critical pumps. 'It was apocalyptic,' said CEO Alex Reppen. 'It was like a tidal wave over lower Manhattan.' While companies like CoreSite dealt primarily with the loss of ConEd power, the Datagram team sought to recover operations in an active flood zone. Why was mission-critical equipment in the basement? Because city officials restrict placing fuel tanks on rooftops and upper floors, citing concerns about diesel emerging from the 9-11 attacks."
OceanMan7 writes "According to a story by Charlie Demerjian, a long-time hardware journalist, Intel's next generation of x86 CPUs, Broadwell, will not come in a package having pins. Hence manufacturers will have to solder it onto motherboards. That will likely seriously wound the enthusiast PC market. If Intel doesn't change their plans, the future pasture for enthusiasts looks like it will go to ARM chips or something from offshore manufacturers."
Modellismo writes "Last May a Japanese hobbyist revealed a DIY, real-life Transformer Robot Car that received lots of feedback. Now Kenji Ishida is back with a new version that will be officially presented next weekend at the Maker Faire Tokyo 2012. This new 1/12 scale autobot is made using a custom 3D printer (build by Kenji himself), and finally Transformers fans around the world will be able to buy it. The official price has not been disclosed. For now the production is limited to 10 pieces. It's possible to choose the color of the robot that comes built and programmed, complete with a wireless controller in a numbered case."
cylonlover writes "OK, first things first – stop picturing a car with solar panels connected to its engine. What Missouri-based inventors Matt Bellue and Ben Cooper are working on is something a little different than that. They want to take an internal combustion engine, and run it on water and solar-heated oil instead of gasoline. That engine could then be hooked up to a generator, to provide clean electricity. While that may sound a little iffy to some, Bellue and Cooper have already built a small-scale prototype."
An anonymous reader writes "The amusing 'but does it run Crysis?' question has a cousin: 'but does it run Minecraft?' The makers of Raspberry Pi can now officially say that yes, yes it does. Called Minecraft: Pi Edition, the latest flavor of the popular game carries 'a revised feature set' and 'support for several programming languages,' so you can code directly into Minecraft before or after you start playing. That means you can build structures in the traditional Minecraft way, but you can also break open the code and use a programming language to manipulate things in the game world."
slashchuck writes "One of the drawbacks of Google's Nexus 4 was its lack of support for 4G LTE. Now comes a report from AnandTech that it's possible to enable partial LTE support on the device. It seems that a simple software update can allow the Nexus 4 smartphone to run on LTE Band 4. All users have to do is dial *#*#4636#*#* (INFO) or launch the Phone Info app. After that, choosing to connect to AWS networks should allow the Nexus 4 to run on LTE networks on Band 4. The AnandTech report states explicitly that the LG Nexus 4 only works on LTE Band 4, on 1700/2100MHz frequencies, and supports bandwidths of 5,10, and 20MHz."
Zothecula writes "With the aim of providing some physical interaction between entertainment robots and guests at its theme parks, while still maintaining a safe distance between the two, Disney Research has created an animatronic robot that can play catch and juggle balls with a human partner. Caught balls are thrown back 2.5 meters (8 ft) to the thrower, while the developers have given the robot several different animations that play out when it drops a ball. These include a shaking of the head, looking behind, looking down, or a shrug of the shoulders."
An anonymous reader writes "For the first time, blind people could read street signs with a device that translates letters into Braille and beams the results directly onto a person's eye." According to the article, "In a trial conducted on a single patient who already used the [predecessor] device, the person was able to correctly read Braille letters up to 89 percent of the time, and most of the inaccuracy appeared when the participant misread a single letter. The user was able to read one word a second."
mask.of.sanity writes "This custom Yamaha TRX 850 has been outfitted with wireless sniffing and attack tools, routers, a laptop, Raspberry Pi and even a heads up display integrated within the bike helmet. It was built from open source kit and cheap hardware by a security penetration tester who wanted to make his love of wardriving more nimble. The plans are detailed in a diagram and a video."
hypnosec writes "The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced a new add-on – a camera module that will enable the credit card sized computer to snap pictures as well as record 1080p videos. Showcased by RS Components at the Elecontrica 2012 in Germany [watch video here] the £16 (apprx) module will be equipped with a 5MP sensor and will plug into the otherwise unused CSI pins of the Pi. The camera module's board is still in prototype stage and is expected to reach production sometime soon. Liz Upton, Executive Director of the Foundation said in a blog post, 'We've a (very) little way to go before we're able to send it out to manufacture.' According to Upton, testing slots have been booked in December to check on electromagnetic radiations from the ribbon cable."
Hugh Pickens writes "Richard Anderson reports on BBC that despite stringent carbon emissions targets in Europe designed to slow global warming and massive investment in renewable energy in China, coal, the dirtiest and most polluting of all the major fossil fuels, is making a comeback with production up 6% over 2010, twice the rate of increase of gas and more than four times that of oil. 'What is going on is a shift from nuclear power to coal and from gas to coal; this is the worst thing you could do, from a climate change perspective,' says Dieter Helm. Why the shift back to coal? Because coal is cheap, and getting cheaper all the time. Due to the economic downturn, there has been a 'collapse in industrial demand for energy,' leading to an oversupply of coal, pushing the price down. Meanwhile China leads the world in coal production and consumption. It mines over 3 billion tons of coal a year, three times more than the next-biggest producer (America), and last year overtook Japan to become the world's biggest coal importer. Although China is spending massive amounts of money on a renewable energy but even this will not be able to keep up with demand, meaning fossil fuels will continue to make up the majority of the overall energy mix for the foreseeable future and when it comes to fossil fuels, coal is the easy winner — it is generally easier and cheaper to mine, and easier to transport using existing infrastructure such as roads and rail, than oil or gas. While China is currently running half a dozen carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects — which aim to capture CO2 emissions from coal plants and bury it underground — the technology is nowhere near commercial viability. 'Renewed urgency in developing CCS globally, alongside greater strides in increasing renewable energy capacity, is desperately needed,' writes Anderson, 'but Europe's increasing reliance on coal without capturing emissions is undermining its status as a leader in clean energy, and therefore global efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.'"