Techno-News Blog

April 30, 2012

Apple’s Tim Cook rejects idea of laptop-tablet hybrids

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by the BBC

Apple’s boss has dismissed the idea of mixing laptops and tablets into a hybrid product. Chief executive Tim Cook said the idea of combining the iPad and MacBook Air would “wind up compromising” both. Rival Asus already markets such products in its Transformer series. Intel has also been a vocal advocate of the idea. Mr Cook also said he hated litigation, signalling a willingness to settle patent disputes. It comes after Apple reported its profits almost doubled in the first three months of the year and it sold 11.8 million iPads, 150% more than the same period last year.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-17838180

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Watchdog finds undeleted data on second-hand disk drives

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by the BBC

The ICO said two of the purchased hard drives had enough information to steal someone’s identity. One-in-10 second-hand hard drives still contain the original user’s personal information, suggests an investigation by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). It purchased devices from auction sites such as eBay and computer fairs. Of the 200 hard disks collected, 11% contained personal information. At least two of the drives had enough information to enable someone to steal the former owners’ identities, the watchdog said. A separate survey by the ICO indicated that one in 10 people who had disposed of a mobile phone, computer or laptop had not wiped the device.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-17827562

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Mobile phones: ‘Still no evidence of harm to health’

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By Jane Hughes, BBC News

There are 80 million mobile phones in the UK There is still no evidence mobile phones harm human health, says a major safety review for the UK’s Health Protection Agency (HPA). Scientists looked at hundreds of studies of mobile exposure and found no conclusive links to cancer risk, brain function or infertility. However, they said monitoring should continue because little was known about long-term effects. The HPA said children should still avoid excessive use of mobiles.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17843953#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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April 29, 2012

Moore’s Law Lives Another Day

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By Tom Simonite, Technology Review

“[Gordon] Moore is my boss, and if your boss makes a law, then you’d better follow it,” says Mark Bohr, who leads Intel’s efforts to make advances in microchip design practical to manufacture. Moore’s Law, of course, was first proposed by Bohr’s boss in 1965, when Moore pointed out that the number of transistors on a chip doubles every two years. Remarkably, the computer industry has maintained that pace ever since, training us to expect computers to become ever faster in the process. After Monday’s launch of Intel’s newest line of processors, named Ivy Bridge, Moore’s prediction is still looking sound. The chips are the first to become available from any company with features as small as 22 nanometers (the finest details on today’s chips are 32 nanometers), allowing transistors to be smaller and packed more densely.

http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/40287/?p1=A4

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NimbleTV Streams Cable to Devices

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by David Zax, Technology Review

Last month I went hands on with Aereo, a service that launched in New York and that brings television to your devices (for $12 a month). TV stations haven’t been happy about Aereo, and have lobbed a number of lawsuits at it. This week, reports the New York Times, a similar startup begins a limited trial, again in New York–only this time, it has its sights on a bigger prize: cable. The startup is called NimbleTV, and it’s pretty exciting. “Finally, your live TV from any country, anywhere you go, with unlimited recording,” says its website. The company hasn’t commented yet on what its service will cost, but the Times said it would be “probably around $20.”

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/helloworld/27796/?p1=blogs

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Google’s Drive Could Complicate the Cloud

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By Tom Simonite, Technology Review

After roughly six years of rumors, Google has finally launched its own cloud storage and syncing service, called Google Drive. The service offers five gigabytes of online file storage for free and includes software that automatically synchronizes files between Windows and Apple computers, Android phones, and Google’s cloud. An iPhone app is due out in the “coming weeks,” Google says. Users can pay $2.49 a month for an extra 25 gigabytes of storage, or pay more for larger blocks up to a maximum of 16 terabytes.

http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/40286/?p1=A1

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April 28, 2012

Making Yale comp sci relevant

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BY MAX UHLENHUTH, Yale Daily News

In our age of digital dependence, the Computer Science Department should be one of the most popular at Yale. From political revolutions fueled by social networking to indie bands raising funding on Kickstarter, computers and the Internet are transforming every aspect of how we live, work and play. Yalies of all stripes are clamoring to engage with these trends, but the Computer Science Department is dooming itself to irrelevance by refusing to provide the tools students need to be successful. The Yale student body understands this and desperately craves some structured way to learn these skills. Because the Computer Science Department refuses to meet this demand, some Yalies took matters into their own hands and founded the enormously popular HackYale group. The organization recruits tech-savvy students to run semester-long classes to teach fellow students basic proficiency in scripting and Web technology.

http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2012/apr/23/uhlenhuth-making-yale-comp-sci-relevant/

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Hospital, college team up to develop robotics

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By Donna Kelly, News Chief staff

Local professionals in education and medicine believe the future depends on harnessing the dexterity teenagers developed over years of playing computer games and combining it with the technology of robotics and basic knowledge of medical terms. Professionals at Winter Haven Hospital and Polk State College believe this could be the key to avoiding a shortage of doctors in the future. The hospital and the college are teaming up to provide rising high school seniors a chance to experience the thrill of operating a robotic arm during surgery through the Scholarobotic Academy June 25 through Aug. 8.

http://www.newschief.com/article/20120423/NEWS/204235001/1021/NEWS01?Title=Hospital-college-team-up-to-develop-robotics

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Disability groups aim for high-tech help

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by Denise Ryan, the Age (Australia)

“It really disturbed me,” she says. “Only 3.5 per cent of people are blind but more than 10 per cent of the population have learning disabilities.” For six years, Ms Webber worked as the disability co-ordination officer for eastern Melbourne in a federal government role hosted by RMIT University. “I realised there was a massive gap in policy, with students with learning disabilities facing a tough time in education,” she says. “With my eye condition, teachers don’t make me read off the board but they say to someone with dyslexia who can’t do so, ‘You are not trying hard enough’. “Their disability is in the brain, just a few centimetres from where my disability lies, yet theirs is not recognised.”

http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/disability-groups-aim-for-hightech-help-20120420-1xc8y.html

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April 27, 2012

Is the Book Cover Dead?

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by David Zax, Technology Review

I am something of a book cover art enthusiast, a man geeky enough to have once bragged about having met Chip Kidd in an elevator. (Who? My point exactly.) And so it’s with great interest that I read, over at the Atlantic, Betsy Morais’s take on the promise and peril the Kindle holds for the art of the book cover.  “A digital book has no cover,” writes Morais. “There’s no paper to be bound up with a spine and protected inside a sturdy jacket. Browsers no longer roam around Borders scanning the shelves for the right title to pluck. Increasingly, instead, they scroll through Amazon’s postage stamp-sized pictures, which don’t actually cover anything, and instead operate as visual portals into an entire webpage of data.”

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/helloworld/27783/?p1=blogs

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AT&T Wants to Put Your Voice in Charge of Apps

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by Dave Talbot, Technology Review

In an effort to make speech the dominant way that people control technology, AT&T is opening up its speech-recognition technology for others to use. Starting in June, software engineers can tap into a cloud service offered by the company to make any device that can connect to the Internet respond to its master’s voice. AT&T believes the technology could ultimately be used for everything from smart-phone apps and online games to cars and appliances. While the initial offering will only convert speech into text, and corresponding commands, the company is considering a broader set of offerings later, including ones that translate English text into six other languages and vice versa, and can also synthesize translated speech.

http://www.technoloyreview.com/computing/40268/?p1=A2

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TrustGo Promises to Guide You to Safe Apps

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by Rachel Metz, Technology Review

Long gone are the days when the only computer viruses you had to worry about were those that would harm your desktop or laptop machine. The rapid rise of smart phones and tablets—along with third-party apps that do everything from looking up restaurants to hailing cabs—presents all-new security threats, with the potential to give a handheld device a lot more than a case of e-sniffles. And even if an app isn’t doing anything that’s clearly malicious, like forwarding your usernames and passwords to hackers, it might be collecting more information than it needs. With this in mind, a startup called TrustGo Mobile Security has released a free app called TrustGo Antivirus & Mobile Security, for phones running Google’s Android software (the most popular smart-phone operating system, with 51 percent of the market at the end of 2011, according to Gartner—and one that is increasingly the target of malware disseminators).

http://www.technologyreview.com/web/40269/?p1=A1

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April 26, 2012

Google Launches Free Gmail Analytics Tool

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By: Chris Preimesberger, eWeek

Gmail Meter analyzes email writing and filing patterns to present an overall sense of how email is being used. Google has launched yet another free service for its Gmail and G+ subscribers. Gmail Meter, activated for general use on April 19, enables Gmail users to become more aware of their email habits and tendencies. It analyzes email writing and filing patterns to present an overall sense of how email is being used. For example, most people probably don’t think about whether they tend to write long or short messages; chances are they write as much as they need to write to get the job done. Gmail Meter takes a long-view look at email histories and gives users some metrics about this and other habits. Same thing with how much time email users take to reply to their friends, family members and business associates. Do you tend to wait longer than you should to answer people back, or do you like to get an answer back to the questioner as soon as possible?

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Search-Engines/Google-Launches-Free-Gmail-Analytics-Tool-209388/

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iPhone 5 Rumor Roundup: Liquid Metal Components, October Arrival

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By: Nathan Eddy, eWeek

Apple’s latest version of the iPhone may sport liquid metal components and could hit the market in October, reports indicate. As anticipation mounts for the next generation of Apple’s iPhone, the rumor mill is in full tilt, with speculation growing that the smartphone will be hitting store shelves in October. Also fueling speculation is a report from the Korean IT news site that suggests the iPhone 5 will be fabricated using liquid metal components. “[The] iPhone5 is likely to take liquid metal, an alloy of zirconium, titanium, nickel, copper and so forth having an outer surface smooth like liquid,” the report said, citing unnamed industry sources.

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/iPhone-5-Rumor-RoundUp-Liquid-Metal-Components-October-Arrival-204988/

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New Brain-Machine Interface Moves a Paralyzed Hand

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by Bioscience Technology

A new Northwestern Medicine brain-machine technology delivers messages from the brain directly to the muscles — bypassing the spinal cord — to enable voluntary and complex movement of a paralyzed hand. The device could eventually be tested on, and perhaps aid, paralyzed patients. “We are eavesdropping on the natural electrical signals from the brain that tell the arm and hand how to move, and sending those signals directly to the muscles,” said Lee E. Miller, the Edgar C. Stuntz Distinguished Professor in Neuroscience at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the lead investigator of the study, which was published in Nature. “This connection from brain to muscles might someday be used to help patients paralyzed due to spinal cord injury perform activities of daily living and achieve greater independence.”

http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/News/2012/04/New-Brain-Machine-Interface-Moves-a-Paralyzed-Hand/

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April 25, 2012

‘iPad Mini’ an Unlikely Apple Strategy

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By: Nathan Eddy, eWeek

Despite rumors of a 7-inch “iPad mini,” one Apple expert doesn’t see that strategy in the Mac playbook. Although Apple founder Steve Jobs roundly dismissed any notion of a smaller version of the iPad, reports are bubbling up again that an Apple tablet with a screen size closer to 7 inches is in the works. Media reports are coming from unnamed sources in Taiwan and China, including a report from Chinese portal NetEase confirming that Apple will launch a smaller tablet in the third quarter of 2012 to “counterattack the Windows 8 army.” (Thank you, Google Translate.) Some analysts and news reports have suggested a smaller iPad with a price point in the area of $300 could deliver a fatal blow to Google Android tablets and any upcoming Microsoft Windows 8 tablets.

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/iPad-Mini-an-Unlikely-Apple-Strategy-301699/?kc=rss

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YouTube loses court battle over music clips

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by the BBC

YouTube could face a huge bill for royalties after it lost a court battle in Germany over music videos. A court in Hamburg ruled that YouTube is responsible for the content that users post to the video sharing site. It wants the video site to install filters that spot when users try to post music clips whose rights are held by royalty collection group, Gema. The German industry group said in court that YouTube had not done enough to stop copyrighted clips being posted.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17785613#

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Mozilla smartphone to go on sale in ‘late 2012′

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by the BBC

Mobile phones running an operating system developed by makers of the Firefox web browser will go on sale in late 2012. The first handsets running Mozilla’s “Boot to Gecko” (B2G) software will be available in Brazil on Telefonica Vivo’s mobile network. Brazilian tech blog Ztop broke the news but had no details about which firm will make the handsets. Announced in July 2011, B2G aims to be an open rival to Google’s Android. The Mozilla Foundation is best known for its Firefox browser that adheres strictly to official standards for writing and viewing web pages. B2G was started as a way to bring the same discipline to mobiles and give people more control over what their phones do and the applications they run.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17784585#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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April 24, 2012

People Power 2.0: How civilians helped win the Libyan information war

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By John Pollock, Technology Review

After weeks of skirmishes in the Nafusa Mountains southwest of Tripoli, Sifaw Twawa and his brigade of freedom fighters are at a standstill. It’s a mid-April night in 2011, and Twawa’s men are frightened. Lightly armed and hidden only by trees, they are a stone’s throw from one of four Grad 122-millimeter multiple-rocket launchers laying down a barrage on Yefren, their besieged hometown. These weapons can fire up to 40 unguided rockets in 20 seconds. Each round carries a high-­explosive fragmentation warhead weighing 40 pounds. They urgently need to know how to deal with this, or they will have to pull back. Twawa’s cell phone rings. Two friends are on the line, via a Skype conference call. Nureddin Ashammakhi is in Finland, where he heads a research team developing biomaterials technology, and Khalid Hatashe, a medical doctor, is in the United Kingdom. The Qaddafi regime trained Hatashe on Grads during his compulsory military service. He explains that Twawa’s katiba—brigade—is well short of the Grad’s minimum range: at this distance, any rockets fired would shoot past them. Hatashe adds that the launcher can be triggered from several hundred feet away using an electric cable, so the enemy may not be in or near the launch vehicle. Twawa’s men successfully attack the Grad—all because two civilians briefed their leader, over Skype, in a battlefield a continent away.

http://www.technologyreview.com/web/40214/?p1=A1

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If You Have a Smart Phone, Anyone Can Now Track Your Every Move

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by Christopher Mims, Technology Review

Location services company Navizon has a new system, called Navizon I.T.S., that could allow tracking of visitors in malls, museums, offices, factories, secured areas and just about any other indoor space. It could be used to examine patterns of foot traffic in retail spaces, assure that a museum is empty of visitors at closing time, or even to pinpoint the location of any individual registered with the system. But let’s set all that aside for a minute while we freak out about the privacy implications. Most of us leave Wi-Fi on by default, in part because our phones chastise us when we don’t. (Triangulation by Wi-Fi hotspots is important for making location services more accurate.) But you probably didn’t realize that, using proprietary new “nodes” from Navizon, any device with an active Wi-Fi radio can be seen by a system like Navizon’s.

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/mimssbits/27784/?p1=blogs

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A 3-D Tablet should be available in 2013.

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by David Zax, Technology Review

Because no gadget, work of art, or experience is complete without a 3-D option, you can soon expect to see the third dimension coming to a tablet near you. This week, the LA Times went hands on with one of the more promising offerings in the offing: a Qualcomm tablet that uses MasterImage’s 3-D display. (Full name: “Cell-Matrix Parallax Barrier Technology.”) One interesting feature of MasterImage’s tech is that they’ve decided to keep doors open: their screens can be implemented on iOS, Android, or Windows. In a confirmation of the importance of mobile, their strategy is to focus on handheld screens, for now. “Our technology can go bigger,” said Matt Liszt to the LAT. “But we really do want to focus on having the most beautiful, wonderful experience on the smartphones and tablets.” Liszt refused to go into details about licensing, beyond saying that a “few deals” are in the works, and that we could expect to see tablets featuring his company’s tech by early 2013.

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/helloworld/27789/?p1=blogs

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