crookedvulture writes "Next year, Synaptics's ForcePad will bring pressure sensitivity to touchpads. It can track five fingers independently, each with up to a kilogram of effective force in precise 15-gram increments. This look at Synaptics' next-gen input tech goes hands-on with with ForcePad, among other new PC inputs. The ultra-slim ThinTouch keyboard, recently acquired through the purchase of Pacinian, combines secretive switches with a side order of capacitive touch. And then there's the latest in touchscreens, the ClearPad Series 4, which purportedly cuts tracking latency by 70%. That's captured on high-speed camera at 240 frames per second."
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judgecorp writes "Hewlett-Packard is returning to tablets with a new unit that aims to make consumer devices under the leadership of former Nokia executive Alberto Torres." This particular Ex-Nokia exec was part of the Meego division. The newly founded HP Mobility will focus on consumer tablets; 'business' tablets (presumably running Windows 8) will remain in their current division. With the recent spinning off of the webOS team into Gram this might mean new webOS hardware.
An anonymous reader writes "Apple's new Retina MacBook Pro is essentially completely non-upgradable, a sealed-box, following a trend started with the MacBook Air in 2008. It's a given that hardware companies are in the business of selling hardware, and would love for computers to have iPhone-like replacement cycles of 1-3 years. But does this mean we're moving irresistibly into an era of 'sealed-unit computing,' even for power users?"
Nerval's Lobster writes "Dr. Armando Angulo was indicted in 2007 on charges of illegally selling prescription drugs. He fled the country in 2004, with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Marshals Service eventually finding him in Panama. As the case developed (and Panama resisted calls to extradite Angulo back to the United States), the DEA apparently amassed so much electronic data that maintaining it is now a hardship; consequently, the government wants to drop the whole case. 'These materials include two terabytes of electronic data (which consume approximately 5 percent of DEA's world-wide electronic storage capacity),' Stephanie M. Rose, the U.S. attorney for northern Iowa, wrote in the government's July motion to dismiss the indictment. 'Continued storage of these materials is difficult and expensive.' In addition, information associated with the case had managed to fill 'several hundred boxes' of paper documents, along with dozens of computers and servers. As pointed out by Ars Technica, if two terabytes of data storage represents 5 percent of the DEA's global capacity, then the agency has only 40 terabytes worth of storage overall. That seems quite small for a law enforcement agency tasked with coordinating and pursuing any number of drug investigations at any given time."
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft founder Bill Gates has pledged to develop with Korea a revolutionary nuclear reactor that will leave far less radioactive waste than existing ones. Gates invested US$35 million in a nuclear-power venture company TerraPower in 2010. TerraPower is led by John Gilleland. It was formed from an effort initiated in 2007 by Nathan Myhrvold's company, Intellectual Ventures. The company includes expert staff and individual consultants who have worked for some of the most prestigious nuclear laboratories and engineering companies in the world." You may remember that Gates worked with China to build a reactor late last year.
MojoKid writes "The venerable Lenovo ThinkPad, with its little red TrackPoint nub, has gone the way of the Ultrabook. If there's one small dig ThinkPads have taken with regularity over the years, it's that though there's a ton of quality and substance built into these machines, style was not a hallmark of the brand. The all new ThinkPad X1 Carbon could very well change the utilitarian stereotype of Lenovo's business-backed line-up, however. As the name suggests, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is built from carbon fiber material throughout its chassis and internal rollcage. Its 14-inch display drives a native resolution of 1600x900, and its keyboard, arguably one of the nicest features of the ThinkPad line, is backlit and even more refined with contoured key caps. Battery life hits a max of about six hours on a full charge, and the machine weighs in at 3lbs and .31-inches at it thinnest dimension."
An anonymous reader points out an article in the Wall Street Journal about how irrational fear of nuclear reactors made people worry much more about last year's incident at Fukushima than they should have. Quoting: "Denver has particularly high natural radioactivity. It comes primarily from radioactive radon gas, emitted from tiny concentrations of uranium found in local granite. If you live there, you get, on average, an extra dose of .3 rem of radiation per year (on top of the .62 rem that the average American absorbs annually from various sources). A rem is the unit of measure used to gauge radiation damage to human tissue. ... Now consider the most famous victim of the March 2011 tsunami in Japan: the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Two workers at the reactor were killed by the tsunami, which is believed to have been 50 feet high at the site. But over the following weeks and months, the fear grew that the ultimate victims of this damaged nuke would number in the thousands or tens of thousands. The 'hot spots' in Japan that frightened many people showed radiation at the level of .1 rem, a number quite small compared with the average excess dose that people happily live with in Denver. What explains the disparity? Why this enormous difference in what is considered an acceptable level of exposure to radiation?"
sciencehabit writes "One of the biggest question marks hanging over the ITER fusion reactor project — a giant international collaboration currently under construction in France — is over what material to use for coating its interior wall. After all, the reactor has to withstand temperatures of 100,000C and an intense particle bombardment. Researchers have now answered that question by refitting the current world's largest fusion device, the Joint European Torus (JET) near Oxford, U.K., with a lining akin to the one planned for ITER. JET's new 'ITER-like wall,' a combination of tungsten and beryllium, is eroding more slowly (PDF) and retaining less of the fuel than the lining used on earlier fusion reactors, the team reports."
ackthpt writes "A network of fixed buoys and solar powered surfing robots called Wave Gliders are set to track Great White Sharks in the Pacific, off the California coast near San Francisco, between Monterey Bay and Tomales Point. According to PhysOrg, 'The self-propelled wave and solar-powered glider is part of a new network of data receivers on fixed buoys will pick up signals from acoustic tags on animals passing within 1,000 feet and transmit the data to a research team on shore, led by Stanford University Marine Sciences Prof. Barbara Block.' Related to the project is 'Shark Net,' a new iOS app 'available free of charge at the Apple app store, created by Dr. Block and her colleagues with developers from TOPP, EarthNC and Gaia GPS to enable a direct, personal connection between the public and wild marine animals and to raise public awareness of the ocean wilderness teeming with life just off North America's West Coast.'"
SternisheFan tips news of a robot designed by Harvard University researchers that can change colors to blend into its surroundings (abstract). The robot also has a soft, flexible body, and is driven by air pumped into cavities in its legs. "The team thinks the devices could have a variety of different uses. Lead author Stephen Morin said the soft machines had similarities with organs or tissues and could have medical applications. He explained: 'The idea is that if you have a system that can simulate muscle motion very well and a system that can transport fluid, by combining those you can fabricate that device to fit a specific surgical problem.' The team also said the machines could have a future in search and rescue. Prof Whitesides said: 'For that kind of application, having it be able to advertise itself, for example, in a way that stood out against the dark would be a good thing.'"
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "At the Usenix security conference in Seattle last week, a group of researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, Oxford University and the University of Geneva presented a study that hints at the darker side of a future where we control computers with our minds rather than a mouse. In a study of 28 subjects wearing brain-machine interface headsets built by companies like Neurosky and Emotiv and marketed to consumers for gaming and attention exercises, the researchers found they were able to extract hints directly from the electrical signals of the test subjects' brains that partially revealed private information like the location of their homes, faces they recognized and even sequences of numbers they recognized. For the moment, the experimental theft of users' private information from brain signals is more science fiction than a real security vulnerability, since it requires tricking the victim into thinking about the target information at a certain time, and still doesn't work reliably. (Though much better than random chance.) But as BMI gets more sophisticated and mainstream, the researchers say their study should serve as a warning about privacy issues around the technology of such interfaces."
sciencehabit writes with this mind-boggling bit from Science Magazine: "When it comes to storing information, hard drives don't hold a candle to DNA. Our genetic code packs billions of gigabytes into a single gram. A mere milligram of the molecule could encode the complete text of every book in the Library of Congress and have plenty of room to spare. All of this has been mostly theoretical—until now. In a new study, researchers stored an entire genetics textbook in less than a picogram of DNA — one trillionth of a gram — an advance that could revolutionize our ability to save data."
tad001 writes "The Daily Mail has pictures of Apple's new mini connector. The photograph, shared by French tech website nowhereelse.fr, shows two components, one of which is said to be similar to another apparently leaked picture of a part of the new iPhone. As well as the new dock connector, the part also seems to take in the headphone jack and the home button connector for the hotly awaited devices."
An anonymous reader writes "It turns out that Linux doesn't work too well on the Apple Retina MacBook Pro. Among the problems are needing special boot parameters to simply boot the Linux kernel, graphics drivers not working, no hybrid graphics support, WiFi requiring special firmware, Thunderbolt troubles, GNOME/Unity/KDE not being optimized for retina displays, and other snafus, including 20% greater power consumption with Linux over OS X. According to Michael Larabel, it will likely not be until early next year when most of the problems are ironed out for a clean 'out of the box' Linux experience on the Retina MacBook Pro."
kactusotp writes "I run a small indie game company, and since source code is kind of our lifeblood, I'm pretty paranoid about backups. Every system has a local copy, servers run from a RAID 5 NAS, we have complete offsite backups, backup to keyrings/mobile phones, and cloud backups in other countries as well. With all the talk about solar flares and other such near-extinction events lately, I've been wondering: is it actually possible to store or protect data in such a way that if such an event occurred, data survives and is recoverable in a useful form? Optical and magnetic media would probably be rendered useless by a large enough solar flare, and storing source code/graphics in paper format would be impractical to recover, so Slashdot, short of building a Faraday cage 100 km below the surface of the Moon, how could you protect data to survive a modern day Carrington event?"