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."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
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."
Nerval's Lobster writes "The Green Grid, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making IT infrastructures and data centers more energy-efficient, is making the case that data center operators are operating their facilities in too conservative a fashion. Rather than rely on mechanical chillers, it argues in a new white paper (PDF), data centers can reduce power consumption via a higher inlet temperature of 20 degrees C. Green Grid originally recommended that data center operators build to the ASHRAE A2 specifications: 10 to 35 degrees C (dry-bulb temperature) and between 20 to 80 percent humidity. But the paper also presented data that a range of between 20 and 35 degrees C was acceptable. Data centers have traditionally included chillers, mechanical cooling devices designed to lower the inlet temperature. Cooling the air, according to what the paper originally called anecdotal evidence, lowered the number of server failures that a data center experienced each year. But chilling the air also added additional costs, and PUE numbers would go up as a result."
New submitter seawall writes "Paul Allen just opened the Living Computer Museum in Seattle. The 'Living' means many of the computers are actually running. There's a Xerox Sigma 9, which was introduced in 1971 and is quite similar to the computer that sent the first signal over Arpanet. There's also Tops-10 on original DEC hardware, an operating TOAD-1 system, and a DEC PDP-7 that's one of only four in the world."
Tator Tot writes with this quote from Chemical & Engineering News: "Using today's technologies and knowledge, a scale-up of fledgling algal biofuel production sufficient to meet even 5% of U.S. transportation fuel demand is unsustainable, says a report released last week by the National Research Council. The report examines the efficiency of producing biofuels from microalgae and cyanobacteria with respect to energy, water, and nutrient requirements and finds that the process falls short. The energy from algal biofuel, the report finds, is less than the energy needed to make it. In terms of water, at least 32.5 billion gal would be needed to produce 10 billion gal of algae-based biofuels, the report states. The study also finds that making enough algal biofuels to replace just 5% of U.S. annual transportation fuel needs would require 44–107% of the total nitrogen and 20–51% of the total phosphorus consumed annually in the U.S."
We recently discussed news of a UK court ruling in which the judge decided Apple must publicly acknowledge that Samsung's Galaxy Tab did not infringe upon the iPad's design, both on the Apple website and in several publications. The acknowledgement has now been posted, and it's anything but apologetic. It states the court's ruling, helpfully referring to "Apple's registered design No. 000018607-0001," and quotes the judges words as an advertisement. The judge wrote, "The informed user's overall impression of each of the Samsung Galaxy Tablets is the following. From the front they belong to the family which includes the Apple design; but the Samsung products are very thin, almost insubstantial members of that family with unusual details on the back. They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool." They go on to mention German and U.S. cases which found in Apple's favor. Apple's statement concludes, "So while the U.K. court did not find Samsung guilty of infringement, other courts have recognized that in the course of creating its Galaxy tablet, Samsung willfully copied Apple's far more popular iPad."
theodp writes "Conceding that he hadn't actually played with one, Apple CEO Tim Cook told Wall Street that Microsoft's Surface tablet is 'a fairly compromised, confusing product' in the company's 4Q earnings call. Cook joked, 'I supposed you could design a car that flies and floats, but it wouldn't do those things very well.' In Apple's 2Q earnings call, Cook also mocked the idea of touch on a laptop or desktop, quipping, 'You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going be pleasing to the user.' Cook added, 'We've done tons of user testing on this, and it turns out it doesn't work. Touch surfaces don't want to be vertical.' So, is Cook just pulling a page from Steve Jobs' people-don't-read-anymore playbook, or is he unaware that children happily used vertical touch screens forty years ago on UIUC's PLATO System (more PLATO History)?"
An anonymous reader writes "LG held a big launch party today for its highly anticipated 84-inch Ultra HD TV. The launch was held at Video & Audio Center in the L.A. area, which sold six sets within two hours. The MSRP had been set at $19,999 but we now know the street price: $16,999. 'My wife would rather I waited,' said one of the buyers." The article claims a couple of times that "Ultra HD 4K" has ~4000 vertical lines of resolution, but that's not true: the (unimplemented?) 8K spec is the one with 4320 lines of resolution confusingly enough. In any case, that's a lot of pixels. Maybe this means we'll finally see computer monitors break through the "HDTVs are the dominant consumers of LCD panels" barrier of 1920x1080.
smackay writes "Virginia Tech's Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory is building a humanoid robot designed for dangerous rescue missions as part of the new DARPA Robotics Challenge. Lab founder/director Dennis Hong calls it the 'greatest challenge of my career.' The robot's name: THOR" From the article: "The task is massive: The adult-sized robot must be designed to enter a vehicle, drive it, and then exit the vehicle, walk over rubble, clear objects blocking a door, open the door, and enter a building. The robot then must visually and audibly locate and shut off a leaking valve, connect a hose or connector, climb an industrial ladder and traverse an industrial walkway. The final and possibly most difficult task: Use a power tool and break through a concrete wall. All these tasks must be accomplished under a set time limit."
sfcrazy writes "Andrew Wafaa, an ARM developer who is responsible for porting openSUSE to ARM, just got his hands on the Chromebook, and he managed to run openSUSE on it." Hopefully that means other distros can be soon ported to the Chromebook as well.