Technology archive for 2011-12-09
Paul Miller / The Verge:The condescending UI — I have a kneejerk reaction to most modern computer user interfaces (also, all microwave user interfaces). I've used plenty of excuses over the years: my “eye for design,” my love of minimalism, a sense of utility. Today, I finally put my finger on it …
Multiple readers sent word that Bastion, an action RPG from indie developer Supergiant Games originally made for Xbox Live Arcade, has shown up in the Chrome Web Store. The purpose of the move is to showcase the browser's Native Client technology. From the article:"Ian Ellison-Taylor, Google's director of product management for the open Web platform, said that Native Client, also called NaCl, can currently improve browser performance by 1 to 10 times. 'What would it be like if we could run native code inside the browser,' he asked the crowd, and he enumerated two goals for the Native Client project. He said Google wants to bring native applications to the Web for performance and security reasons, and it wants to enrich the Web ecosystem by bringing popular, long-in-use programming languages to the Web." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Mary Jo Foley / All about Microsoft Blog:Microsoft releases Silverlight 5 — Summary: Microsoft released to the Web on December 9 Silverlight 5, which could be the last major release of Microsoft's — Microsoft made available on December 9 for download the gold version of Silverlight 5, the latest version of its browser plug-in and Web …
jd writes "There has been research for some time showing that London cab driver brains differ from other people's, with considerable enlargement of those areas dealing with spacial relationships and navigation. Follow-up work showed it wasn't simply a product of driving a lot (PDF). However, up until now it has been disputed as to whether the brain structure led people to become London cabbies or whether the brain structure changed as a result of their intensive training (which requires rote memorization of essentially the entire street map of one of the largest and least-organized cities in the world). Well, this latest study answers that. MRI scans before and after the training show that the regions of the brain substantially grow as a result of the training, and they're quite normal beforehand. The practical upshot of this research is that — even for adult brains, which aren't supposed to change much — what you learn structurally changes your brain. Significantly." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer takes charge of retail division as search for Ron Johnson replacement continues (Mark Gurman/9to5Mac)(2 years ago)
Mark Gurman / 9to5Mac:Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer takes charge of retail division as search for Ron Johnson replacement continues — The Grand Central Terminal store opening had Steve Cano and Bob Bridger in attendance — Until November 1, 2011, Apple's widely successful retail branch was headed by Ron Johnson, J.C. Penny's new CEO.
It is possible to offer resilience in cloud platforms, in applications that leverage them, or both.
Samsung's dropped yet another Apple-bashing ad, once again mocking customers who camp out for hours in front of Apple stores.
HP announced today that it will "contribute" its webOS operating system to the open source community.
Four U.S. lawmakers -- three Democrats and one Republican -- have teamed up to attack call center outsourcing with a bill that would penalize any company that moves a call center overseas.
Researchers have developed one of the smallest electronic circuits, which could pave the way for smaller and more powerful mobile devices.
New submitter CaptSlaq sends word that Silverlight 5 has been released. Microsoft has not revealed whether it will be the last version."New features in Silverlight 5 include Hardware Decode of H.264 media, which provides a significant performance improvement with decoding of unprotected content using the GPU; Postscript Vector Printing to improve output quality and file size; and an improved graphics stack with 3D support that uses the XNA API on the Windows platform to gain low-level access to the GPU for drawing vertex shaders and low-level 3D primitives. In addition, Silverlight 5 extends the ‘Trusted Application’ model to the browser for the first time. These features, when enabled via a group policy registry key and an application certificate, mean users won’t need to leave the browser to perform complex tasks such as multiple window support, full trust support in browser including COM and file system access, in browser HTML hosting within Silverlight, and P/Invoke support for existing native code to be run directly from Silverlight." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Our hearts were aflutter with anticipation when the Sphero went up for pre-order last month, but that excitement has since been supplanted by a big knot of disappointment, because the smartphone-controlled robotic ball won't be hitting the market until after the holiday season. In a letter published yesterday, Orbotix CEO Paul Berberian attributed his company's setback to a fundamental economic quandary. "Demand has been greater than expected and our production capabilities are slower than we planned," Berberian wrote. "What that means is only a handful of orders are going to be fulfilled before the holidays and the majority of orders will be fulfilled in January." Writing on behalf of the manufacturer, Berberian went on to accept full blame for the delay, with rather admirable honesty: "We simply underestimated the number of units we'd need to make and, more importantly, we miscalculated how long it would take to bring up the production line." To make up for it, Orbotix is offering free expedited shipping to all customers who pre-ordered the device in time for the holidays, along with a free Sphero t-shirt.Sphero shipments delayed due to high demand, won't be here-o until January originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 09 Dec 2011 17:17:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink All Things D | Orbotix | Email this | Comments
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Hewlett Packard has decided to open its webOS mobile operating system to developers and companies, potentially taking on Google's free Android platform that is popular with handset makers.
Michael Learmonth / AdAge:Meet Google's Biggest U.S. Search Advertisers — New Kantar Estimate: IAC, Amazon.com, AT&T, Expedia, Experian and Microsoft Top the List — Google likes to talk about display and brand advertising these days but the vast majority of its revenue still comes from its revolutionary core product: search.
Adam Clark Estes / The Atlantic Wire:Hillary Clinton: Hero and Villain of the Internet — As Congress sinks its teeth into an alternative to the widely loathed anti-piracy legislation that some fear will lead to Internet censorship, Hillary Clinton is standing up for the ideals of an open web.
The Facebook IPO will be a watershed event - history will provide the context. Prospective investors have to judge the risks.
OverTheGeicoE writes "The Transportation Security Administration is getting a lot of negative attention, much of it from the U.S. government itself. A recent congressional report blasted the TSA for being incompetent and ineffective (PDF). A bill to force the TSA to reduce its screening of active duty U.S. military members and their families was approved unanimously by the House of Representatives. After a TSA employee was arrested for sexually assaulting a woman while in uniform, a bill has been introduced to prevent TSA agents from wearing police-style uniforms and badges or using the title 'officer.' The bill's sponsor calls these practices 'an insult to real cops.' The FBI is getting involved by changing its definition of rape in a way that might expose the TSA's 'enhanced pat-down' screeners to prosecution. Lastly, public support for the TSA's use of X-ray body scanners drops dramatically when people realize there is a cancer risk." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
South Korea loves its robots. While the country prepares them to teach the kids and guard its prisons, smartphone-compatible models are now propping up shelves in hobbyist shops. Dongbu Robot (previously Dasarobot) is launching several new products for wannabe bot engineers, but it's the Google OS-compatible HOVIS kits that caught our eye. While we already know Android-powered bots can make a mean cocktail, these kits will get new features programmed to them through a phone's Bluetooth and WiFi connections. The basic wheeled model can be upgraded to fully-fledged legs, while Dongbu Robot is working alongside the country's SK Telecom network to offer speech recognition as the first software add-on, with plans for education and home security all in the pipeline. The price of sowing the seeds of the Robopocalypse? Around $620 for the starter model. Sound like too much? Well, there's always Romo.Programmable robots coming to Korean stores, will assimilate your Android phone originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 09 Dec 2011 16:50:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink Plastic Pals | DongbuRobot (Facebook) | Email this | Comments
Apple seems to have two kinds of customer service. The public-facing one in the retail stores, and the corporate policy that accepts no blame and provides little help. Why?
SOPA is coming closer. How could this affect small businesses, and what should they be aware of?
New submitter mraudigy sends this quote from Physorg:"CERN scientists say their data from two main experiments using CERN's $10-billion Large Hadron Collider under the Swiss-French border will be made public next Tuesday, but any firm discovery will have to wait until next year. They say the data helps narrow the region of the search because it excludes some of the higher energy ranges where the Higgs boson might be found, and shows some intriguing possibilities involving a small number of 'events' at the lower energy ranges." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
HP made the announcement Friday, in the wake of increasing speculation that we would all learn the fate of the beleaguered OS before day's end.
Here's a bit of a head-scratcher: Acer has said it will stand by its man, which in this case is the netbook, but CEO J.T. Wang also recently told Dow Jones that his company will stop making "cheap and unprofitable products." So, which is it? Will the manufacturer keep churning out the low cost (and even lower specced) machines that it managed to sell 1.7 million of last quarter? Or will it stop "[blindly] pursuing market share" with affordable, but poorly made crap? Wang specifically said that Ultrabooks would become the company's "key growth driver next year" and hopefully return Acer to profitability. If that fails, we're sure there's plenty of room for some of its pastel wares over at the Home Shopping Network.Acer will stop making cheap crap, but keep selling netbooks. Discuss. originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 09 Dec 2011 16:27:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink All Things D | Wall Street Journal | Email this | Comments
Microsoft Lync mobile clients for iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Phone ready to roll (Mary Jo Foley/All about Microsoft Blog)(2 years ago)
Mary Jo Foley / All about Microsoft Blog:Microsoft Lync mobile clients for iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Phone ready to roll — Summary: Microsoft looks to be ready to roll out its Lync unified communications client for Windows Phone, iPhone, Android, Symbian and the iPad on December 12. — Microsoft is ready to launch …
HP is hoping to model the WebOS open source government model after Red Hat's Fedora project. Apache, CDDL and MPL are license possibilities.
With its $50 price drop, Sony's Reader Wi-Fi will be priced competitively with the Kindle and Nook. For a while, anyway.
The concept behind a unified login and cloud integration is sound, but not with a limited desktop OS.
When Adobe last week issued an advisory about a dangerous zero-day attack based on an unpatched Adobe Reader vulnerability that was being exploited in the wild to try and seize control of both PCs and Macs, it credited Lockheed Martin for sounding the alarm about it.
Blue Coat Systems has agreed to be bought by a private equity firm for about $1.3 billion, which will buy out shareholders for a 48% premium over what the company's stock sold for yesterday.
Acclivity rang in the new year early on Friday by releasing AccountEdge 2012, the latest version of the company's small business accounting software. The app has been redesigned, adding a number of new features, including the ability to track mileage and create multiple billing rates.
snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister writes in favor of new programming languages, given the difficulty of upgrading existing, popular languages. 'Whenever a new programming language is announced, a certain segment of the developer population always rolls its eyes and groans that we have quite enough to choose from already,' McAllister writes. 'But once a language reaches a certain tipping point of popularity, overhauling it to include support for new features, paradigms, and patterns is easier said than done.' PHP 6, Perl 6, Python 3, ECMAScript 4 — 'the lesson from all of these examples is clear: Programming languages move slowly, and the more popular a language is, the slower it moves. It is far, far easier to create a new language from whole cloth than it is to convince the existing user base of a popular language to accept radical changes.'" Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Deezer added a few notches to its music streaming belt yesterday, with the announcement of its long awaited rollout to (nearly) every corner of the globe. The launch, confirmed at Le Web in Paris yesterday, has already brought the service to both Ireland and the Netherlands, with plans to expand across Europe by the end of this month. Users in Canada and Latin America can expect to receive the French service by the end of January, Australia and Africa should see it by the end of February, and everyone else by the middle of next year. Conspicuously absent from that list are the US and Japanese markets, both of which have been passed over "due to market saturation and low growth forecasts," as well as the fact that the two countries comprise "only" 25 percent of worldwide music consumption. Le sigh.[Thanks, Paulo]Deezer announces ambitious global rollout, ignores US and Japan originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 09 Dec 2011 16:04:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | The Wall Street Journal | Email this | Comments
Twitter is redesigning its social networking service, beginning with mobile devices like the iPhone and Android smartphones.
Asus preparing swivel-screen ultrabook for September Windows 8 launch, says DigiTimes (Thomas Ricker/The Verge)(2 years ago)
Thomas Ricker / The Verge:Asus preparing swivel-screen ultrabook for September Windows 8 launch, says DigiTimes — Asus is planning to launch an ultrabook that swivels into tablet position with the launch of Windows 8, according to DigiTimes. The Ivy Bridge transformer will make its debut in early June at Computex 2012 …
Hewlett-Packard may think it's resuscitating WebOS by turning it into an open-source platform, but the truth is the plug was pulled a long time ago.
The Engadget Mobile Podcast is one week older. Episode 116 is upon us, and Myriam Joire, Brad Molen and Joseph Volpe are ready to unleash cellular vibes directly into your live broadcast and / or recorded podcast. Join us at 5PM ET today, and feel free to tweet us any comments or questions you might have from this week's news! December 9, 2011 5:00 PM ESTContinue reading Listen to the Engadget Mobile Podcast, live at 5PM ET!Listen to the Engadget Mobile Podcast, live at 5PM ET! originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 09 Dec 2011 15:45:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Frederic Lardinois / SiliconFilter:Sean Parker: There are Too Many Startups and VCs — At LeWeb this afternoon, TechCrunch's Alexia Tsotsis and Menlo Ventures Shervin Pishevar were joined by Napster co-founder, Facebook founding president and Spotify investor Sean Parker for a keynote interview.
Dan Frommer / SplatF:What it was like at this morning's Grand Central Apple Store opening — I missed Apple's new retail store opening this morning in New York's Grand Central Terminal, but my friend Arlo files this report and these photos. Thanks! … Also: Commerce as content, shopping through art
Microsoft released to the Web on December 9 Silverlight 5, which could be the last major release of Microsoft's
New submitter Minion of Eris writes "It seems NASA can't keep track of its goodies. A recent audit discovered that moon rocks have been missing for 30 years, loaned displays have gone unreturned, and book-keeping has been generally poor. From the article: 'In a report issued by the agency's inspector general on Thursday, NASA concedes that more than 500 pieces of moon rocks, meteorites, comet chunks and other space material were stolen or have been missing since 1970. That includes 218 moon samples that were stolen and later returned and about two dozen moon rocks and chunks of lunar soil that were reported lost last year. NASA, which has lent more than 26,000 samples, needs to keep better track of what is sent to researchers and museums, the report said. The lack of sufficient controls "increases the risk that these unique resources may be lost," the report concluded.'" Read more of this story at Slashdot.
It's been a little more than a year since the US government began seizing domains of music blogs, torrent meta-trackers and sports streaming sites. The copyright infringement investigation, led by US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities, quickly raised eyebrows among many free speech and civil rights advocates, fueling a handful of legal challenges. Few are more compelling, or frightening than a case involving Dajaz1.com. As TechDirt reports, the popular hip-hop blog has been at the epicenter of a sinuous and seemingly dystopian dispute with the feds -- one that underscores the heightening controversy surrounding federal web regulation, and blurs the constitutional divide between free speech and intellectual property protection. Dajaz1 was initially seized under the 2008 Pro IP Act, on the strength of an affidavit that cited several published songs as evidence of copyright infringement. As it turns out, ,any of these songs were actually provided by their copyright holders themselves, but that didn't stop the government from seizing the URL anyway, and plastering a warning all over its homepage. Typically, this kind of action would be the first phase of a two-step process. Once a property is seized, US law dictates that the government has 60 days to notify its owner, who can then choose to file a request for its return. If the suspect chooses to file this request within a 35-day window, the feds must then undertake a so-called forfeiture process within 90[..]
Leena Rao / TechCrunch:HP's Whitman: We'll Make WebOS-Powered Tablets In 2013 — Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman finally announced the fate of operating system WebOS this morning, after the company previously announced that it was ceasing the development of all smartphones and tablets running Palm's webOS platform.
Derrick Harris / GigaOM:Facebook speeds PHP development again with HipHop VM — Never content with good enough when it comes to speed, Facebook has taken its open-source PHP-boosting HipHop technology to the next level for programmers. With the new HipHop Virtual Machine, Facebook claims it has improved upon …
It's great that HP has open-sourced webOS, but without HP's full backing can webOS be anything more than just another also-ran mobile operating system.
The latest version of Twitter gives brands the chance to showcase their offerings with a nice new look and feel. Its available to you too, but only if you have the right mobile phone.
In its continuing endeavor to serve its 800 million users as quickly as possible, Facebook is once again revamping the way it handles its PHP-based Web pages.
Google dove into the realm of facial recognition on Thursday, unveiling a tagging suggestion feature for its Google+ social network.