xynopsis writes "Looks like the final version of the Linux based Steam Gaming Console has been made public at CES. The result of combined efforts of small-form-factor maker Xi3 and Valve, the gaming box named 'Piston' is a potential game changer in transforming the Linux desktop and gaming market. The pretty device looks like a shrunk Tezro from Silicon Graphics when SGI used to be cool." Looks like Gabe Newell wasn't kidding.
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schliz writes "Australian researchers expect to use unmanned aircraft in bushfire surveillance and search and rescue scenarios within two years. The news comes as New South Wales faces 'catastrophic' fire danger ratings and what firefighters say could be the worst conditions in the state's history."
First time accepted submitter Barryke writes "Today LEGO announces the new mohawk (NASA's turf) sporting MINDSTORMS EV3 platform (press release). And with details on its features and innards (in Dutch) which in short comes down to: 'Its intelligent brick sports an ARM9-soc running Linux on 64MB RAM and 16MB storage memory, and supports SD cards. There are also four ports, which allow four other 'Bricks' can be connected. The intelligent brick can be reached by WiFi, USB and Bluetooth, and supports control via Android and iOS devices. It comes with 3 servo's, two touch sensors and an IR sensor to track other robots at upto six meters. It also includes 17 build plans, shown in 3D using Adobe Inventor Publisher.'"
Deathspawner writes "If there's one thing that each CES can bring, it's a handful or products that manage to drop jaws everywhere. Kingston's latest flash drive series, DataTraveler HyperX Predator 3.0, manages to be one of those. It's aimed at folks who actually need mass storage on the go at speeds that mechanical hard drives cannot offer. Available soon will be a 512GB model, followed by the 1TB later this quarter. The drive features read speeds of 240MB/s and write speeds of 160MB/s — not quite desktop SSD speeds, but much faster than a mechanical hard drive, and with vastly reduced latencies due to it being flash storage. Not surprisingly, pricing has not yet been discussed."
An anonymous reader writes "We all knew it was just a matter of time, now it looks like Windows RT has been Jailbroken. From the article: 'The hack, performed by Clokr, exploits a vulnerability in the Windows kernel that has existed for a long time — since before Microsoft ported Windows from x86 to ARM, in fact. Basically, the Windows kernel on your computer is configured to only execute files that meet a certain level of authentication. There are four levels: Unsigned (0), Authenticode (4), Microsoft (8), and Windows (12). On your x86 Windows system, the default setting is Unsigned — you can run anything you like. With Windows RT, the default, hard-coded setting is Microsoft (8); i.e. only apps signed by Microsoft, or parts of Windows itself, can be executed.'"
iComp writes "It's all gestures and eyeball-tracking at CES this year, with Tobii releasing a USB peripheral that adds control-by-sight to any Windows PC and Lenovo upgrading its Yoga to finger-watching. Tobii demonstrated its eyeball-tracking technology at CES last year, but this time it is announcing a 5,000 unit production run of a USB bar which can be stuck to the bottom of the monitor of any Windows 8 PC to start tracking eyeballs. Lenovo isn't even waiting that long. Although it is only tracking fingers, it's adding the capability to existing Yoga laptops courtesy of eyeSight Tech."
cylonlover writes "The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has used CES 2013 to announce an enhancement to the USB 3.0 (aka SuperSpeed USB) standard that will see the throughput performance of USB 3.0 double from 5 Gbps to 10 Gbps. The speed boost will come courtesy of enhanced USB connectors and cables that are fully backward compatible with existing USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 devices. The 10 Gbps SuperSpeed USB update (pdf) is up for industry review during the first quarter of 2013, with completion of the standard expected by the middle of the year."
theodp writes "Saturday, the 2013 FIRST Robotics Competition kicked off, and — much like the Pinewood Derby — mentoring by adult engineers there doesn't hurt one's chances of winning. So, any advice for 'ordinary' high schools going up against the likes of FIRST Robotics Teams sponsored and mentored by NASA? FIRST Robotics Team 254's Lab at NASA Ames Research Center, for instance, includes 'an 80% size practice field as well as a small machine shop, workspace, computer lab and meeting space.' Not surprisingly, Team 254 won the 2011 FIRST Championship." We took our camera to the Michigan FRC championships last year, and had a great time.
The years have not been kind to Polaroid. The company has gone through a couple of bankruptcies, and has tried to reinvent itself with a number of less-than-popular products including: an Android powered "smart camera," and a digital camera that incorporates instant printing. They hope to reverse their fortunes now by partnering with a startup called Fotobar and plan "to open a chain of retail stores where customers can come in and print out their favorite pictures from their mobile phones." The first is scheduled to open in February in Delray Beach, Florida, and the goal is to open 10 locations across the country before the year is out."
Hugh Pickens writes "With Windows 8, Microsoft has made a billion-dollar gamble that personal computing is taking a new direction and that new direction is touch, says David Pogue. It's efficient on a touchscreen tablet. But Microsoft expects us to run Windows 8 on our tens of millions of everyday PCs. Although touch has been incredibly successful on our phones, tablets, airport kiosks and cash machines, Pogue says touch will never take over on PCs. The reason? Gorilla Arms. There are three big differences between tablet screens and a PC's screen: angle, distance and time interval. The problem is 'the tingling ache that [comes] from extending my right arm to manipulate that screen for hours, an affliction that has earned the nickname of gorilla arm.' Some experts say gorilla arm is what killed touch computing during its first wave in the early 1980s but Microsoft is betting that Windows 8 will be so attractive that we won't mind touching our PC screens, at least until the PC concept fades away entirely. 'My belief is that touch screens make sense on mobile computers but not on stationary ones,' concludes Pogue. 'Microsoft is making a gigantic bet that I'm wrong.'"
wiredmikey writes "NVIDIA on Saturday quietly released a driver update (version 310.90) that fixes a recently-uncovered security vulnerability in the NVIDIA Display Driver service (nvvsvc.exe). The vulnerability was disclosed on Christmas day by Peter Winter-Smith, a researcher from the U.K. According to Rapid7's HD Moore, the vulnerability allows a remote attacker with a valid domain account to gain super-user access to any desktop or laptop running the vulnerable service, and allows an attacker (or rogue user) with a low-privileged account to gain super-access to their own system. In addition to the security fix, driver version 310.90 addresses other bugs and brings performance increases for several games and applications for a number of GPUs including the GeForce 400/500/600 Series."
MojoKid writes "New leaked info from Intel sheds light on how the company's 2014 platforms will challenge ARM products in the ultra light, low power market. At present, the company's efforts in the segment are anchored by Cedar Trail, the 32nm dual-core platform that launched a year ago. To date, all of Intel's platform updates for Atom have focused on lowering power consumption and ramping SoC integration rather than focusing on performance — but Bay Trail will change that. Bay Trail moves Atom to a quad-core, 22nm, out-of-order design. It significantly accelerates the CPU core with burst modes of up to 2.7GHz, and it'll be the first Atom to feature Intel's own graphics processor instead of a licensed core from Imagination Technologies."
Serenissima writes "I've spent many hours building my Media Library in XBMC and scraping all the DVD Covers and Fanart. And I love it, I can pull up movies on any computer or device in the house. I played a movie for my son the other day so I could get some cleaning done without him being underfoot. I noticed shortly after that the sound coming from the other room was from a different movie than I played for him. I snuck up and watched for a few minutes and saw him use a trackpad to navigate to the stop and play buttons of different movies in his folder. I know it's only a matter of time before he realizes he can see all of the movies. I don't want him to have nightmares because he saw the T-1000 stab someone in the face. The quickest solution I can think is a screen saver with a password. It's mildly inconvenient to me, but would stop him from accessing anything. However, I remember how much more I knew about computers than my parents when I was a kid, and I have a feeling he's going to surprise me one day. There's a lot of ways out there to stop it, the way we do it now is to not let him watch anything unless we're there (but there are only so many times I can watch the same kid's movie). How do YOU guys find yourself dealing with the convenience of running your own server while keeping your media safe from prying eyes?"
This year's Consumer Electronics Show has nearly arrived. Later today, I'll be hurtling (or perhaps just slogging) across the West Texas desert, bound for Vegas. CES is far too big an event to see very much of, no matter what: the endless aisles (highways!) of cheap laptop bags and e-cigarettes alone take up an incredible amount of floor space, but the good stuff takes up at least as much. The categories represented aren't necessarily new, but the trends vary each time: remote-controlled helicopters, from Parrot and others, have been been getting more capable for a few years running, along with 3D televisions, action cameras, ever-bigger displays, toys for kids, toys for adults, and the newest/slimmest/priciest/cheapest laptops and handhelds. Last year I had a chance to get close-up video views at Ubuntu TV and the successfully crowdfunded TouchFire keyboard, as well as interviews with John Ryan of Pixel Qi and Raspberry Pi instigator Eben Upton. I'll be on the lookout for some of my usual obsessions (open source in consumer products, bright LED-based projectors, interesting input devices), but what would you like to see up-close from this year's crop of exhibitors (sorry, it's a long list), and why?
Nerval's Lobster writes "Building and operating a supercomputer at more than three miles above sea level poses some unique problems, the designers of the recently installed Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) Correlator discovered. The ALMA computer serves as the brains behind the ALMA astronomical telescope, a partnership between Europe, North American, and South American agencies. It's the largest such project in existence. Based high in the Andes mountains in northern Chile, the telescope includes an array of 66 dish-shaped antennas in two groups. The telescope correlator's 134 million processors continually combine and compare faint celestial signals received by the antennas in the ALMA array, which are separated by up to 16 kilometers, enabling the antennas to work together as a single, enormous telescope, according to Space Daily. The extreme high altitude makes it nearly impossible to maintain on-site support staff for significant lengths of time, with ALMA reporting that human intervention will be kept to an absolute minimum. Data acquired via the array is archived at a lower-altitude support site. The altitude also limited the construction crew's ability to actually build the thing, requiring 20 weeks of human effort just to unpack and install it."