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Robotics

Submission + - Toy Robots Can Guard Your Home

Orome1 writes: Worried about burglars ransacking your house? Buy yourself some toy robots! It is what Robert Oschler, a Florida-based programmer, did. He bought a Rovio — a Wi-Fi enabled mobile webcam robot that can be picked up from toy sections of many stores — and modified it to suit his needs. The robot already has a camera, a microphone and speakers, but the improvements he made to the software allowed him to enhance the audio and video quality of this existing equipment, and to create specific routines for the robots. This way, every time he feels the need to check what's going on in the house, he simply goes online with his laptop and directs the robot through the house.
Hardware

Submission + - A brief history of computer displays (arnnet.com.au)

splitenz writes: Great little 20-image slideshow tracing the development of the humble computer screen. From blinking lights and punch cards to LCDs and 3D flat panels, we trace the 70-year history of the tech that users rely on to see what a computer is doing. The old black and whites photos of the gear and monitors from the 1940s-1970s are particularly interesting. We certainly have come along way.
Displays

Submission + - E Ink unveils first color e-reader (newscientist.com)

Kensai7 writes: E Ink, the firm behind the monochrome displays on the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader, launched its first colour ebook-reader display this week. Unlike LCDs that constantly draw power, electronic ink uses power to change the image – but not to display it – increasing battery life from hours to weeks. Electronic ink works by attracting black or white powders to the front of a clear pixel capsule.
Data Storage

Submission + - OCZ RevoDrive X2 Goes Head To Head With Fusion-io

MojoKid writes: OCZ recently launched their new RevoDrive X2 PCIe-based SSD product, which is essentially the second coming of OCZ's first gen RevoDrive. This time around the product appears to offer bragging rights in terms of performance levels, but at a price point decidedly more aligned with traditional SATA-based SSD solutions. Versus other, significantly more expensive PCI Express SSD cards on the market, the RevoDrive X2 delivered impressive performance when tested against the likes of Fusion-io's ioXtreme product. What's perhaps more impressive is that the RevoDrive X2 drops in at a cost of around $2.57 per GB for at 240GB card. This is on par or lower than a single standard SATA-based SSD with a similar capacity. You can also boot from RevoDrive X2 as well, which can't be said for Fusion-io cards currently.
Software

Submission + - Biggest Game Console Failures in History (discovery.com) 1

astroengine writes: "As Microsoft's motion-controlled Kinect gaming device hits stores, everyone from players to industry analysts are wondering whether the device is a "game changer." Unfortunately, releasing new gaming technologies to the market are far from a sure bet. Discovery News reminisces over some of the biggest flops in game console history that, at the time, held so much promise."
Power

Submission + - No Energy Savings with Daylight Savings Time

Pickens writes: "For nearly a century, Americans have been springing forward and falling back, and this morning was no different as we all snuggled soundly in bed while the clock fell back an hour. But Michael Downing, a teacher at Tufts University and the author of "Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time," says messing with the clock doesn’t really save energy. “Daylight saving is still a boon to purveyors of barbecue grills, sports and recreation equipment and the petroleum industry, as gasoline consumption increases every time we increase the length of the daylight saving period." A report in 2007 by the California Energy Commission's Demand Analysis Office agrees concluding that, "The extension of daylight saving time (DST) to March 2007 had little or no effect on energy consumption in California (PDF).” According to Downing the petroleum industry has known since 1930 that DST increases gasoline comsumption. "Daylight Saving really pushes Americans out of the house at the end of the day. And when Americans go out of the house, they may go to the ballpark, they may go to the mall, but they don't walk there. They get into their cars." So is daylight saving time a fait accompli or is there light at the end of the tunnel? “Since 1966, every 20 years, Congress has given us another month of daylight saving. We're up to eight months now,” says Downing. “And there is every reason to believe that the [U.S.] Chamber of Commerce, the national lobby for convenience stores — which account for more than 80 percent of all gasoline sales in the country — and Congress will continue to press for extensions until we adopt year-round daylight saving. And then, why not spring forward in March or April and enjoy double daylight saving time?”"
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Open source viewfinder / tablet project (kickstarter.com)

olafura writes: This is a great project to raise money towards open source hardware design for a tablet computer that would be used for a viewfinder in the Apertus project. The kickstart project has already raised 1/4 of the money in only 5 days. This could run what ever other platform we could imagine like Android, Meego, Google Chrome OS or just plain Debian.
Hardware

Submission + - Help me build my beginner's electronics inventory

ElectricMayhem writes: I am a beginner in the electronics world. I have a breadboard. I have a multimeter. I have a few resistors and a LED that I picked up from Radio Shack. But now I'm ready to expand. I've seen lots of beginning hobby kits that have a lot of components in it along with some general directions on how to do different projects. But these usually also usually include a large project board and unnecessary large pieces of hardware specific to the kit's projects.

If I were to make one large order from a place like mousers.com, what would you recommend I have on hand for upcoming learning projects? I just learned about capacitors and have realized that I have no idea on what components I will need in the future. What are the components that you can't do without in your projects? Help me build my beginning inventory.
Music

Submission + - Apple imposes ultimatum on 90 second music clips (thinq.co.uk)

Stoobalou writes: Apple has offered a startling ultimatum to music industry bosses over its intention to offer 90-second previews of music on the iTunes store.

In a blanket letter to publishers and rights holders who are part of the iTunes Connect scheme, Apple has told label representatives that they will be offering 90 second clips of all tracks over 2 minutes and 30 seconds, while shorter tunes will maintain the current 30 second samples.

The communication, which insists that longer clips will benefit all parties involved, amounts to Apple telling the music industry to put up or shut up, with the only option beyond agreeing to the change being the withdrawal of recordings from the iTunes service.

Submission + - Feds consider Google StreetView prosecution (itwire.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Google Australia remains a prosecution target of federal investigators over its systematic and unauthorised collection of personal data through its fleet of Street View cars, with the Australian Federal Police currently assessing advice on possible breaches of Commonwealth criminal law.

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