CowboyRobot writes "It's looking like Microsoft is planning to replace its underachieving Surface tablet with two new products, but it may need three to finally have success with the Surface. Three tablets would provide an entry point and an upgrade path. Multiple Surface RT models would help Windows RT survive OEM skepticism. Microsoft needs device fanfare to accompany Windows 8.1, and to coincide with enterprise hardware upgrades. If the company releases one of the models before the end of the year, the device would arrive in time not only for the holiday season, but also to cash in on user interest in Windows 8.1, which will be released later this fall. Surface devices released next year, meanwhile, could capitalize on enterprise hardware upgrades, which are expected to pick up as Windows XP's April 8, 2014 end-of-service date nears."
Zothecula writes "Armchair sports lovers are at the mercy of TV directors who chose what camera angle is shown when. Most sports fans will have been frustrated with their shot selection at one time or another, but a new panoramic camera would put such decisions in the viewer's hands. Comprising ten individual cameras, the OmniCam 360 provides a full 360-degree of the action." Just don't roll it down a hill and try to watch the results.
mikejuk writes with an intriguing description of AquaTop, a (very) interactive display system developed at Tokyo's University of Electro-Communications Koike Laboratory, which uses a Kinect sensor, a projector, and a tub of cloudy water. Images are projected into the water, and as a user, "[Y]ou can move them around, resize them using the usual two-finger pinch, but you can also pick them up in cupped hands and transfer them somewhere else. The gesture I really liked was 'sink to delete' — yes, that's often how I feel about a file. Add some waterproof loudspeakers under the surface and allow the computer to run them at low frequency. The result is that you can now make the surface 'boil' in response to the sound. You can make fountains of water appear and project the right colors onto it to make it look like an explosion. In the demo game you throw energy bolts at squid that blow up if you hit them. You have to see the video to understand how putting your hands in cold water might be so much fun."
An anonymous reader writes "What is the best/newest hardware without trusted computing (TC) / Trusted Platform Module(TPM)? I am currently running ancient 32-bit hardware and thinking about an upgrade to something x64 with USB3, SATA3 and >1 core on the CPU ... but don't want TC/TPM. I have no need to run anything like Blu Ray movie disks or Microsoft Windows that requires TC/TPM or the UEFI boot process. Is anybody else still trying to avoid TC/TPM? What have your experiences been? Any pointers?" Worth reading on this front, too: Richard Stallman on so-called Trusted Computing,.
The U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled that certain models of Samsung phone violate Apple patents, and are likely to be blocked from import to the U.S. From the article: "The patents in question are U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949, which relates to a touch screen and user interface and U.S. Patent No. 7,912,501 which deals with detecting when a headset is connected. The ITC said Samsung didn’t infringe on the other two patents. In a statement on the matter, the ITC said the decision is final and the investigation has been closed. ... As was the case with the previous ruling that saw Apple devices banned, the ban on Samsung devices won’t go into effect until 60 days but can be blocked by a favorable ruling following a presidential review. That seems unlikely as such a block has only been issued once since 1987 – last’s week’s ruling in favor of Apple."
An anonymous reader writes with a followup to last week's report that certain Xerox scanners and copiers could alter numbers as they scanned documents: "In the second Xerox press statement, Rick Dastin, Vice President at Xerox Corporation, stated: 'You will not see a character substitution issue when scanning with the factory default settings.' In contrast, David Kriesel, who brought up the issue in the first place, was able to replicate the issue with the very same factory settings. This might be a serious problem now. Not only does the problem occur using default settings and everyone may be affected, additionally, their press statements may have misled customers. Xerox replicated the issue by following Kriesel's instructions, later confirming it to Kriesel. Whole image segments seem to be copied around the scanned data. There is also a new Xerox statement out now." Swapping numbers while copying may seem like bizarre behavior for a copier, but In comments on the previous posting, several readers pointed out that Xerox was aware of the problem, and acknowledged it in the machine's documentation; the software updates promised should be welcome news to anyone who expects a copier to faithfully reproduce important numbers.
UnknowingFool writes "CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has told CNET that Nvidia is working with Microsoft on the next generation of Surface tablets. While sales of the first generation have been poor, Huang believes the second generation will be more successful with the inclusion of Outlook."
Lucas123 writes "With 3D NAND flash going into high production and one startup demonstrating a resistive NAND (RRAM) flash array, it may not be long before mobile devices have hundreds of gigabytes of capacity, even a terabyte, with performance only limited by the bus. Samsung announced it is now mass producing three-dimensional (3D) Vertical NAND (V-NAND) chips, and start-up Crossbar said it has created a prototype of its RRAM chip. Both technologies offer many times what current NAND flash chips offer today in capacity and performance. Which technology will prevail is still up in the air, and experts believe it will be years before RRAM can challenge NAND, but it's almost inevitable that RRAM will overtake NAND as even 3D NAND heads for an inevitable dead end. Others believe 3D NAND, currently at 24 layers, could reach more than 100, giving it a lifespan of five or more years."
SmartAboutThings writes "More bad news for Microsoft: Acer is apparently rethinking their Windows strategy, planning to offer fewer Microsoft products and focus more on products delivered by Redmond's rival Google, in the form of Chromebooks and Android devices. This comes after Acer's second-quarter earnings call, where the Taiwanese company posted a surprise second-quarter loss, having unexpected lower sales and rising expenses. Acer's change of plans comes not long after Asus' CEO announced that the company would no longer make Windows RT products until Microsoft proves there's real demand."
Zothecula writes "Some of the most advanced work in autonomous aerial robotics is not done by DARPA, or by massive corporations. Rather, it is accomplished by teams of university students who participate in the International Aerial Robotics Competition (IARC). For the past 23 years, the IARC has challenged college teams with missions requiring complex autonomous robotic behaviors that are often beyond the capabilities of even the most sophisticated military robots. This year's competition, which was held in China and the United States over the past week, saw the team from Tsinghua University in Beijing successfully complete the current mission – an elaborate espionage operation known as Mission Six."
hypnosec writes "NVidia has now open-sourced the operating system that powers the gaming console to encourage its modification and further development. Powered by NVidia's homegrown Tegra 4 processor, the console runs Android, which shouldn't surprise many as the company moves ahead with its open-sourcing intentions. The GPU company has said that the SHIELD is an 'open gaming platform' that allows for 'an open ecosystem,' enabling developers to develop content as well as applications that takes advantage of the underlying hardware and which can be enjoyed on bigger displays as well as mobile screen." Playing with it isn't without risks (like potentially voiding the warranty), but NVIDIA's blog post says they're also providing a recovery image to fall back to.
judgecorp writes "Research from Seagate suggests that hybrid hard drives in general use are virtually as good as solid state drives if they have just 8GB of solid state memory. The research found that normal office computers, not running data-centric applications, access just 9.58GB of unique data per day. 8GB is enough to store most of that, and results in a drive which is far cheaper than an all-Flash device. Seagate is confident enough to ease off on efforts to get data off hard drives quickly, and rely on cacheing instead. It will cease production of 7200 RPM laptop drives at the end of 2013, and just make models running at 5400 RPM."
DW100 writes "Ubuntu has secured a surprise enterprise backer of its $32m Edge smartphone crowd-funding push with corporate powerhouse Bloomberg signing up for the top tier Enterprise 100 package, worth $80,000. Chief technology officer at Bloomberg Shawn Edwards said the firm wanted to give its support to the innovative open source project as it could have real benefits for its IT workforce." Adds reader nk497: "So far the campaign has raised $8.5 million and has two weeks left to run. Individuals can buy the smartphone-cum-PC for $780 at the moment, but Canonical is also offering business bundles of 100 handsets, including a month of support, for $80,000. Bloomberg is the first business to opt for the bundle — but it will get its money back if the project isn't fully funded." Update: 08/08 12:58 GMT by T : One more note: Canonical has dropped the price to $695 for the remainder of the fundraising campaign.
Nerval's Lobster writes "The microelectronic sensors and mechanical systems built into smartphone cameras and other tiny electronic devices may soon evolve into microscopic, custom-printed versions designed as bionic body parts rather than smartphone components. Engineering researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed a micro-printing process that can build microscopic microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) onto a flexible, non-toxic organic polymer designed for implantation in the human body. Current-generation MEMS are typically found in the accelerometers in smartphones, or the tiny actuator motors that focus cell-phone camera lenses. Most are made from substrates based on silicon, and built using techniques common to semiconductor fabrication. The new process, as described in the journal Microelectronic Engineering , relies on an organic polymer that is hundreds of times more flexible than conventional materials used for similar purposes. That flexibility not only makes the units easier to fit into the oddly shaped parts of a human body, it allows them to be made more sensitive to motion and energy-efficient. That alone would give a boost to the miniaturization of electronics, but the stretch and flex of the new materials could also serve as more comfortable and efficient replacements for current prosthetics that sense stimuli from an amputee's nervous system to power a prosthetic arm, for example, or operate a synthetic bladder."
MojoKid writes "Google's second gen Nexus 7 tablet is a worthy successor to the original, boasting an improved design both internally and externally. It's thinner and lighter, has a faster Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC, 2GB of RAM, a higher resolution 1920X1200 display and it's running the latest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean release. The display alone was a nice upgrade in a 7-inch slate that retails for well under $300. However, it turns out the new Nexus 7 is also one of the fastest tablets out there right now, with benchmark numbers that best some of the top tablets on the market, especially in graphics and gaming. From a price/performance standpoint, Google's second generation Nexus 7 seems to be the tablet to beat right now."
Okian Warrior writes "Adding to the 3-D printed gun/rifle controversy, Delta-V Engineering built a Full-auto Gauss gun (aka 'machine gun'), capable of firing 15 steel bolts from its magazine in less than two seconds. At 3% the muzzle energy of a .22, it's still in the prototype stage. Bullets are made from turned-down nails, and the gun uses no chemical propellants. The builder has posted the design notes online. Video of the gun in action is pretty interesting."
New submitter HAL11000 was the first of many to write with news that IBM and others have formed a new consortium to license the POWER architecture to third parties "IBM puts up POWER architecture for licensing and announces the OpenPower Consortium with Google, Nvidia, Mellanox, and Tyan." Quoting El Reg: "The plan, according to McCredie, is to open up the intellectual property for the Power architecture and to allow customizations by licensees, just like ARM Holdings has done brilliantly with its ARM processors ... Nvidia is very excited about the prospects of marrying Power processors and Nvidia GPUs for both HPC and general purpose systems. ... Tyan will presumably be working on alternative motherboards to the ones that IBM has manufactured for its own use." There are mentions of the POWER firmware being "open sourced," but it is unclear if that actually means Open Source or something more like the Open Group's definition of open (vendors only).
MojoKid writes "One of the greatest obstacles standing between chip manufacturers and the pursuit of smaller, faster, processors is the lack of a proper light source. Current chips are etched using a deep ultraviolet wavelength of 193nm, but at a 28nm semiconductor process geometry, we've reached the limits of what a 193nm wavelength is small enough to etch. Extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) has been pegged as the most likely replacement for current 193nm technology, but repeated problems with ramping EUV have left it stalled on the runway. Now, for the first time, foundry technology developer ASML, which made headlines last year by partnering more closely with Intel and TSMC, believes it has cleared some of the hurdles between it and widespread EUV commercialization. The company predicts EUV technology could be ready for ramp by 2015. Two problems have stymied EUV deployment thus far. The first is the strength of the light source. Generating EUV at the intensities required for mass production can require as much as an order of magnitude more input power than conventional lithography. Second, there's the issue of exposure time. The two are linked — a higher-power system can etch wafers more quickly, but the power requirements could edge into the kilowatt range for each piece of equipment. The NXE:3300, which ASML is shipping this year, will be capable of hitting 125 wafers per hour, once the company boosts the light source up to 250W. That boost is still off in the future. Current NXE:3300 machines are targeting 80W by the end of the year."
iwritethings writes "The Sol, a rugged-looking laptop with built-in foldable solar panels is designed for use in the military, education and developing countries where electricity is scarce. The Canada-based makers behind the Sol claim that the device can run directly off solar energy or can harness the sun's rays to charge the laptop's battery in under two hours. Once fully charged, the battery is expected to last between eight and 10 hours. While the concept of solar charging gadgets isn't new, this type of battery life is unprecedented. There's no word on when Sol will launch, but its headed to Ghana first, and it will run Ubuntu Linux."
Daniel_Stuckey writes "South Korea continues to pull out all the stops on the long road to a high-tech utopia. Last year, the city Yeosu hosted the Expo 2012, an international exhibition that highlighted emerging technology and design that attracted 8 million visitors over three months. Today, the nation has finally unveiled the world's first road-powered electric vehicle network for regular use. Here's how it works: the network runs on newly-built roads that have electric cables and wires embedded below the surface. This allows for the magnetic-resonance transfer of energy to the network's vehicles, which not only already run on small batteries (about a third of the size of a typical electric vehicle) but also do not require the plug-in-and-recharge process common to other electric cars."