Hugh Pickens writes "With Verizon's 4G network covering a good chunk of the country and AT&T gaining ground, more smartphone users have access to the fastest wireless service available. But because 4G coverage isn't truly continuous in many locations, users' batteries are taking a big hit with 4G, as phones spend an lot of battery power trying to hunt down a signal. 'You've got a situation where the phones are sending out their signals searching and searching for a 4G tower, and that eats up your battery,' says Carl Howe, a vice president for research firm Yankee Group. The spottiness of 4G stems at least in part from the measured approach carriers have taken to it, rolling out the service city by city. There are a few tricks 4G users can try to extend battery life such as turning off your 4G connection when you don't need the fastest speeds — when using email, for instance — or using a program such as JuiceDefender to search for apps you may have downloaded that you don't need to run all the time, and erase them."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
An anonymous reader writes "The Nouveau driver project that's been writing an open-source NVIDIA graphics driver via reverse-engineering has moved forward in their support. The Nouveau driver now has OpenCL acceleration support to do GPGPU computing on the open-source community driver for several generations of GeForce GPUs."
garymortimer writes with word of the result from a high-tech student competition that doesn't come with sponsorship from DARPA or Mobil — far from it. Instead, the sponsors include "military and non-military organizations" within Iran. "In this competition, participants must provide a UAV equipped with a camera to search a 10 square kilometer area for at least 40 minutes to find 3 square meter marks on the ground with different English letters on them. Finding ground targets and reporting the geo location are criterion for choosing the contest winner." (This article updates another from last year, which gives some more details about the competition.)
An anonymous reader writes "Apple hasn't released a Mac OS X device running on ARM yet, but a recently discovered thesis from a former Apple intern going by the name of Tristan Schapp details a 12-week project carried out in 2010 to port the OS to the ARMv5 architecture. The port got as far as booting to a multi-user prompt, but then hit hurdles to do with drivers and cache. The good news is that same intern now works for Apple as part of the CoreOS team. With rumors last year that a MacBook Air running on ARM could appear by 2013, could he be part of a team making that happen? If he is, I bet it will use the new ARMv8 architecture announced late last year."
An anonymous reader writes "Raspberry Pi has confirmed the first batch of $35 PCs will be constructed on February 20. They've also coaxed Broadcom into releasing the datasheet for the board. Apparently the company hit a snag with the quartz crystal package so there was a manufacturing delay, but it's since been resolved and things are on schedule for later this month." From the announcements: "Eben and I may be going to China to make sure that the boards can be brought up properly for that date if necessary. We’ll be airfreighting them to the UK immediately, so you should be able to buy them before the end of the month."
New submitter albinobee writes "The Kinect for Xbox 360 isn't only about gaming; it can also be used to help compensate for impaired vision, as a team of Indian engineers is working to prove. A device called viSparsh, still in its nascent stage, is a motion sensing belt that can help alert the blind to obstacles that lie in their path."
crookedvulture writes "Intel continues to partner with third-party controller makers for high-end SSDs. Its new 520 Series drives pair the latest SandForce controller with Intel's own firmware and 25-nm NAND. HotHardware, Tech Report, and PC Perspective all have reviews of the drive, and the verdict is pretty consistent. While the Intel 520 Series offers slightly better performance than competing SandForce solutions, it also costs 30-40% more. That's a steep margin even considering the Intel SSD's five-year warranty."
Hugh Pickens writes "Anna Leach reports that Siri support has been a contentious issue for owners of earlier iPhones, but a recent filing from Audience shows that Siri won't run on the iPhone 4 because the phone's chip can't handle it. Linley Gwennap of the Linley Group cracked one of the secrets of the new iPhone's A5 chip after working out that it packs some serious audio cleaning power not available on the iPhone 4's A4 chip. Audience has developed technology that removes most or all of the background noise when someone places a cell-phone call from a restaurant, airport, or other noisy location. The iPhone 4S integrates Audience's 'EarSmart' technology directly into the A5 processor, improving its technology to handle 'far-field speech,' which means holding the device at arm's length rather than directly in front of the mouth. Apple has also licensed the Audience technology for a 'new generation of processor IP,' which may mean that the forthcoming A6 processor will appear in the iPad 3 and iPhone 5. 'Why Apple has not simply purchased Audience is unclear. An acquisition would prevent Audience's other major customer, Samsung, from using the technology to compete with Apple,' says Gwennap. 'The company may be hedging its bets, as it could switch to Qualcomm's Fluence noise-reduction technology in the future.'"
judgecorp writes "A research team at Manchester has taken a big step toward building transistors with graphene. So far graphene's marvelous conductivity has actually proved a drawback, but the team has sandwiched a layer of molybdenum disulfide between layers of graphene to provide a high on/off ratio. Also, the British Government is finding £50 million to fund Manchester as a center for graphene study and development, led by two professors there, Sir Kostya Novoselov and Sir Andre Geim, who shared the 2010 Nobel prize for Physics for their work on graphene."
Zothecula writes "Research scientist Andreas Mershin has a dream to bring inexpensive solar power to the masses, especially those in developing countries. After years of research, he and his team at MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms, along with University of Tennessee biochemist Barry Bruce, have worked out a process that extracts functional photosynthetic molecules from common yard and agricultural waste. If all goes well, in a few years it should be possible to gather up a pile of grass clippings, mix it with a blend of cheap chemicals, paint it on your roof and begin producing electricity. Talk about redefining green power plants!"
arnodf writes "The University of Hasselt (in Belgium) announced today (Google translation of Dutch original) that Belgian and Dutch scientists have successfully replaced an 83-year-old woman's lower jaw with a 3D-printed model. According to the researchers, 'It is the first custom-made implant in the world to replace an entire lower jaw. ... The 3D printer prints titanium powder layer by layer, while a computer controlled laser ensures that the correct particles are fused together. Using 3D printing technology, less materials are needed and the production time is much shorter than traditional manufacturing. The artificial jaw is slightly heavier than a natural jaw, but the patient can easily get used to it."
An anonymous reader writes "Enterprise Storage Forum's long-awaited Linux file system Fsck testing is finally complete. Find out just how bad the Linux file system scaling problem really is."
J. Dzhugashvili writes "Today at its Financial Analyst Day, AMD made statements that strongly suggest it plans to offer ARM-based chips alongside its x86 CPUs and APUs. According to coverage of the event, top executives including CEO Rory Read talked up an 'ambidextrous' approach to instruction-set architectures. One executive went even further: 'She said AMD will not be "religious" about architectures and touted AMD's "flexibility" as one of its key strategic advantages for the future.' The roadmaps the execs showed focused on x86 offerings, but it seems AMD is overtly setting the stage for a collaboration with ARM."
hypnosec writes "Foxconn is supposedly looking to enhance its workforce in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou and despite the less-than-satisfactory working conditions in the company, thousands of aspirants are lining up for jobs in its factories. Not caring about the harsh working conditions at Foxconn, thousands of people congregated outside a labor office in Zhengzhou, the largest city of Henan province in North central China, impatiently waiting for a chance to work at Foxconn. Foxconn, which is engaged in assembling iPhones and iPads for Apple, is planning to hire an additional 100000 employees as it is aiming at augmenting its iPhone production."
MrSeb writes "You've heard of smart cars, and now, rolling out in San Francisco, is a smart parking system that promises to eliminate the arduous process of finding a parking spot. SFpark is a network of magnetic sensors that have been installed under 8,200 street parking spaces, along with additional information from parking garages and parking meters. These sensors are all linked together in a mesh network, and ultimately link back to a central command center. Drivers can access this parking data via the SFpark website or smartphone app, and see in real-time where parking spaces are available. At any one time, a third of cars on the road in urban areas are looking for parking spots, consuming more fuel, creating more pollution, and causing more accidents. With SFpark, you can see at a glance where there's a parking spot — but in the future, you'll be able to hit a button and have your smartphone direct you to the nearest parking spot."