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Archive for News

Sony develops “rollable” OTFT-driven OLED display

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on May 26th, 2010

One of the benefits of OLED displays are that they can be flexible. Now Sony has a new ultra thin flexible OLED display, just 80µm-thick, which is less than a strand of hair. The OLED display measures 4.1-inches and has a resolution of 432 x 240 pixels and a contrast ratio of under 1,000:1.

They claim that it’s the first OLED panel that can play videos while being rolled up and stretched around a cylinder (like a pencil) with a 4mm radius.

IBM is planning Traffic Lights to stop your car for you

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on May 25th, 2010

Would you like it if your car did the stopping for you at traffic lights? IBM is developing a technology that will automatically cut your engine at a red light. I’m thinking that people don’t want to give up that much control.

The patent proposes that the system would collect positioning data from cars stopped at a red light. After a given amount of wait time, a “stop-engine” notification would be sent to the vehicles, with a “start-engine” notification to follow when the light changes back to green.

New ‘super discs’ could hold thousands more than DVDs

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on May 24th, 2010

A team at the University of Tokyo has found that using titanium oxide could mean that we gets discs with storage capacities more like hard drives. And guess what? The material is cheaper than the stuff used in Blu-ray discs.

Titanium oxide is ideal for disc manufacturing because of the way it reacts to light. At room temperature the material is capable of switching between metal and semiconductor states, which makes it “promising as a material for a next-generation optical storage device,” according to the eggheads.

Barnes & Noble to open PubIt! self-publishing portal

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on May 19th, 2010

Self-publishing has been possible through Amazon for some time now and it’s time for some healthy competition. Barnes & Noble has announced that it will open up a self-publishing portal this summer, called PubIt!. It will give unknown authors the ability to upload and sell their material through B&N’s website and eBookstore.

Details on the compensation model (or profit split) will be announced soon. And it won’t be limited to the Nook either. Almost any e-reader, tablet or PC will be able to get in and make purchases, so the potential audience for the author is large.

Ubuntu Light Netbook operating system boots in 7 seconds

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on May 10th, 2010

When it comes to booting up your netbook, how fast is fast enough? Windows users are used to waiting anywhere from a few seconds to minutes depending on your system’s configuration platform. Any recent computer has a decent start time, but if you are impatient, you might want to consider Ubuntu Light.

This version will boot up your netbook in just 7 seconds. It’s a full-fledged Linux distribution which offers all the usual tools that come with a desktop OS, like your web browser, office suite, communication and security features and compatibility with thousands of third party apps. The hardware used to achieve this 7 second boot time is a Dell Inspiron Mini 10v that runs on an 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor.

New HDD writing methods could boost platter densities by 5x

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on May 10th, 2010

Current hard disk drives have hit their limit: a few hundred GB per inch. Or have they? A combination of two unique writing methods could lead to new HDDs that will yield ten times as much data in the same space.

The process combines TAR (thermally-assisted recording) and BPR (bit-patterned recording) to pack bits of data like sardines without the HDD’s write head accidentally messing with surrounding bits. Initially, researchers expect densities of up to 1TB per inch with the new method. Eventually they think they can get densities as high as 10TB per inch.

FCC will let the MPAA disable analog outputs

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on May 8th, 2010

The Motion Picture Association of America has been trying to get a waiver for the FCC Selectable Output Control (SoC) ban since it went into effect — the ability to only allow content to flow from a HDCP protected HDMI port. There has been a lot of debate, but little or no action until now. The MPAA can now use SoC to protect high value content, but the FCC locked down exactly when it can be used.

Any movie that’s never been released on disc can be protected with SoC for 90 days. The FCC granted this because the content affected isn’t currently available to cable and satellite anyway. Consumers who own older HDTVs, without HDMI ports, don’t currently expect access to these movies. So for those with older hardware nothing changes, and for those with the latest, you’ll be able to rent newer movies from home.

Opera Software: ‘Flash makes little sense for video’

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on May 6th, 2010

Now Opera Software has entered the great Adobe Flash v. Apple debate, urging Adobe to embrace open web standards. Speaking with Tech Radar, Opera’s product analyst Phillip Grønvold very diplomatically said that “today’s internet content is dependent on Flash” and “if you remove Flash you do not have today’s internet,” and for that reason Opera needs to support Flash.

Then Grønvold stated that while Flash has its place for things like dynamic content, it “makes very little sense” for video container given the impact on processor and battery usage. He added that “you can cook an egg on [devices] once you start running Flash on them and there’s a reason for that.”

Goodbye 3.5″ floppy disk

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on April 28th, 2010

Remember floppy disks? I haven’t used one in years myself and unless you use one to boot up your system when trouble hits, chances are you haven’t either. They bring back memories.

Well, now it’s time to say goodbye. Sony is putting the 3.5-inch floppy disk to rest next year. After March of 2011, the company won’t be producing them. Shed a tear for an old friend. Ah, the good old days, when it took 12 disks to install a game.

Next iPhone expected to trigger flash memory shortage

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on April 28th, 2010

Word is that the upcoming release of Apple’s iPhone 4G might cause a shortage of flash memory in the market. Apple is expected to ship about 40 million iPhones this year alone, which is just a bit more than 25 million from a year back. Does that mean there could be a shortage?

But that isn’t all to consider. Apple is expected to ship about 7-8 million iPads this year as well. See how it is starting to look likely? Apple is already said to be the largest consumer of flash memory in the world, since it uses built-in memory in the iPhone, iPad and iPods.

AOL Sells ICQ For $187.5m

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on April 28th, 2010

If you were around during the beginning of instant messaging, then you probably remember ICQ, which set the standard for instant messaging. AOL initially acquired Mirabilis, the Israeli-based company who came up with the program, back in 1996 for $407 million.

Now the company has decided to let it go for just $187.5 million to a Russian investment company, Digital Sky Technologies. I bet this brings back instant messaging memories for many of you.

Boy Scouts introduce videogame badge

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on April 28th, 2010

Yes, for real. The Boy Scouts of America have recognized the modern children’s pastime of videogames, with the creation of a “Video Games” belt loop and pin. What do you have to do to earn them? Three steps.

1. You have to explain why it is important to have a rating system for video games. Check your video games to be sure they are right for your age.

2. With an adult, create a schedule for you to do things that includes your chores, homework, and video gaming. Do your best to follow this schedule.

3. Learn to play a new video game that is approved by your parent, guardian, or teacher.

McAfee gives free subcription extensions, offers to pay for PC repairs

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on April 27th, 2010

McAfee has had some problems of late. A security update sent Windows XP computers everywhere crashing down in a way that has never happened before with anti-virus software. Now it’s time for the company to take some steps to make it up to their customers.

The company is handing out a free two-year subscription extension to all affected customers and they will soon start a program to reimburse some expenses that customers incurred in repairing their PCs. It will apparently be starting in the next few days.

Touchscreens can now track hovering fingers

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on April 25th, 2010

Cellphones with Cyprus touchscreens, like the Nokia S60 and Palm Pre, will have an extra dimension very soon. Hovering. No, they won’t hover by your ear. This is like when you’re working on your desktop computer, and an icon changes when you move your cursor over it. Get it? Starting in the next few months, cellphones will be able to do just that, by detecting your finger near the screen, and letting you hover the cursor without touching the screen.

How’s that for awesome? The lack of finger-hover tracking is one of the lame reasons Apple used for not having Flash on its iPhone or iPad touchscreens, so what will they say now? They may just change their i-tune someday soon.


Pepsi Dream Machine Kiosks gives points for recycled bottles

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on April 23rd, 2010

Pepsi and Waste Management are teaming up for the Dream Machine, a computerized recycling bin that gives out points for returned bottles. The internet-connected kiosks will be installed in stadiums, parks, and gas stations and will award recyclers redeemable points for every bottle returned.

That’s pretty cool. It’s not clear what the recycling points will be redeemable for, but it will encourage recycling in a big way and that’s always a good thing.